Dayton, Tenn. – To close out the end of February, the Bryan College Lions Fishing Team showcased their talents at the YETI FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference event at Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Ala. where the boat of Nathan Bell (SR/Riceville, Tenn.) and Cole Sands (SO/Calhoun, Tenn.) landed a five-fish limit weighing 17.4 pounds, landing them in 8th out of the record-breaking 248 teams that participated.
The 248 teams is the largest field ever assembled for a college bass fishing tournament, surpassing the prior mark where 214 teams competed in the Bassmaster College Series Southern Regional at Lake Martin (Ala.) last season.
Not only do the Lions receive recognition from a top finish in the tournament, but the duo of Bell and Sands added 241 points to Bryan's total in the running for Cabela's School of the Year, launching them to 2nd place, trailing only Auburn University (Ala.). The Auburn Tigers claim the No. 1 spot with 672 total points with the Lions right on their tail at 634. University of South Carolina ranks 3rd (632) and is followed by the University of North Alabama (627) and the University of Alabama to round out the top five (624).
Tusculum College (Tenn.) pulled off the win at Guntersville by a narrow 3-ounce margin over runner-up University of Georgia.
Below are the results from Guntersville.
Top 10 teams
1. Nick Hatfield & Corey Neece – Tusculum College – 22-13 (5) – $2,400.00
2. Wesley Griner & Nathan Ragsdale – University Of Georgia – 22-10 (5) – $1,200.00
3. Cole Floyd & Carter Mcneil – Bethel University – 19-12 (5) – $500.00
4. Garrett Enders & Cody Huff – Bethel University – 18-14 (5) – $500.00
5. Brandon Matthews & Nathan Doss – Snead State Community College – 18-8 (4) – $500.00
6. Ben Stone & Collin Smith – Lander University – 17-12 (5)
7. Beau Clymer & Hunter Bozeman – Florida Gulf Coast – 17-4 (5)
9. Brian Pahl & John Coble Garrett – Bethel University – 16-13 (5)
10. Triston Crowder & Lake Blasingame – University Of North Alabama – 16-8 (5)
With Bryan on the prowl for the School of the Year title, their upcoming tournament on Saturday, Mar. 11, at Kentucky Lake is vital. The Lions received 241 points at Guntersville, and that is figured by taking the total number of boats, subtracting your finish, and then adding one. Cabela's tournaments give points for your top two teams, so that's why schools take advantage of the opportunity. On Saturday, the rules will be a little different at the Big Bass Bash with every man being their own team. "This is the biggest tournament for us for School of the Year points to date," said Bryan Head Coach, Mike Keen.
At the Big Bass Bash, there will be four weigh-ins each day during the two-day event. The top 10 in each session will receive prizes, the top fish each day will then be given a larger prize, and the biggest catch of the tournament will take home the crown and the most amount of School of the Year points possible for one team.
"We are happy to finish as high as 8th in as big of field of 248," explained Keen. "That kind of finish gives us a lot of points to keep us in the hunt for School of the Year. The School of the Year standings fluctuate after each tournament. Five of the top 10 are large SEC schools, and we are ahead of four of them which is a good place to be."