Shelbyville High School bass fishing caught the IHSA Shelbyville Sectional Championship and went on to finish 14th in the State.
At the State Championship at Lake Carlyle on Friday and Saturday, Highland earned the championship (21 lb, 1 oz), followed by Goreville (20 lb, 14 oz). Carlyle tied for 4th, fishing their own lake (17 lb, 12 oz). Shelbyville tied for 14th with Johnsburg. Both teams caught 6 fish total for 10 pounds, 7 ounces. Shelby caught 4 fish Friday for 6 pounds, 9 ounces. They caught 2 fish on Saturday for 3 pounds, 7 ounces.
"The Rams were the IHSA Sectional Champions on May 2, beating 23 other schools and qualifying them for IHSA state at Carlyle Lake," said Ram coach Greg Harkins. "They had big bass in the sectional at 6.88 lbs. This bass ended up being the biggest bass caught in the state for all sectional tournaments."
The catch of the day at sectional belonged to Eli Courtright. The Ram fisherman snared a 6 lb, 4 oz bass. The Rams, Courtright and Boone Frederick, finished the day with 8 lb, 3 oz of fish weighed. Frederiock caught the other two fish that gave them the margin of victory. They out-weighed 2nd place Bismark-Henning-Rossvile-Alvin (7 lb, 11 oz) by a pound. Harkins is the Ram coach and the driver.
Eleven of the 23 teams caught fish. Bethany Okaw Valley placed 4th and was a State Alternate. Okaw's team was Isaac Tipsword, Eric Boomer, Wyatt Daniels, and Max Doris. Okaw caught 6 lb, 6 oz of fish and Sullivan was 5th with 4 lb, 15 oz of fish. Dave Doty is the Okaw coach and driver.
There were 66 teams from all over the state qualifying for the State Championship on Carlyle Lake. The state tournament was a two-day event taking place on Friday and Saturday, May 17-18.
"Carlyle is known to be a very tough fishery," Harkins said. "It's very hard to navigate with all the shallow stump flats and is a very rough lake when the wind blows."
A random draw put Shelbyville as the 66th boat to shove off on Friday and Saturday, after everyone else. They still finished 14th. After day 1, Shelbyville was in 17th place out of 66 teams. Day two was a very rough and windy day. With a weather shortened day, the Shelbyville bass fishing team of Boone Frederick and Eli Courtright put together another good outing and moved into 14th place.
"The IHSA bass fishing has become very popular in the last five years," Harkins said. "It has become a very popular thing at Shelbyville, as well. We are seeing our numbers grow to a point where we max out on the number of kids we can have on an IHSA roster. This is such a cool thing for our students to participate in and be part of a team in a very unique setting. This also gets them outdoors and teaches them a healthy life-long sport they can do."