Young Harris College Bass Fishing Team Finishes Second in Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship
YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Young Harris College bass fishing team members and 2013 graduates Matthew Peeler, of Williamson, Ga., and Brad Rutherford, of Lavonia, Ga., recently finished second in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship that was hosted by YHC and held on Lake Chatuge.
The three-day competition included 68 two-angler teams representing 49 colleges and universities from across the United States. The YHC team ended the first day in third place and finished fourth on the second day before the top five teams battled it out on the final day of competition.
Peeler and Rutherford led the final weigh-in with close to 13 pounds but ultimately fell short to Auburn University at Montgomery for the championship prize after the accumulative weights were tallied. The YHC team caught 15 fish for a total three-day haul of 36 pounds, 8 ounces.
“I knew one fish could have made the difference. We were probably one large bass short of becoming the national champions, but that’s how it goes,” Peeler said. “I am proud that we were one of the most consistent teams at the tournament, and to have a shot at the end to win it all at home was so sweet.”
“I could not be more proud of our bass fishermen or of the College,” added YHC President Cathy Cox. “We had an incredible week hosting the national championship and enjoyed showing off our beautiful campus and surrounding area.”
This marked the first time the championship took place outside of Arkansas, where it has been held since its inception. The event received national television coverage from ESPNU, and a sizable crowd gathered each day to watch the weigh-ins on the YHC Campus Plaza.
“We usually run the weigh-ins for professional and collegiate tournaments together to ensure there is a crowd,” remarked B.A.S.S. Nation Director John Stewart. “The crowd gathered at YHC for this one championship rivaled those we see at professional events. The people here clearly love fishing.”
Peeler and Rutherford’s second place finish earned them the opportunity to represent YHC in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Bracket Championship on Lake Guntersville in Alabama, Feb. 21-23, 2014.
“Hosting the tournament at Lake Chatuge provided a huge opportunity for us to showcase YHC to college students from across the nation and speaks to the recent success of our program,” said the team’s advisor, Assistant Professor of Biology Johnathan Davis, Ph.D.
The team, founded in 2009 by Rutherford, continues to rack up accolades while regularly competing in fishing events nationwide. Grayson Payne, a junior biology major from Blairsville, Ga., and Joe Thompson, a senior biology major from Clayton, Ga., recently secured a spot at the 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
About Young Harris College
Young Harris College is a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of north Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. The College currently has more than 1,000 students across five divisions—Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences—and plans to increase enrollment to 1,200 over the next few years. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., is currently undergoing major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth, including recent completion of a 200-bed, LEED Silver-certified residence hall, Georgia’s first higher education facility north of Atlanta to achieve this certification, a 57,000-square-foot, LEED-certified recreation center, the second higher educational recreation facility in Georgia to achieve this certification, and a 248-bed, apartment-style residential village. In 2011, the College was granted candidacy for NCAA Division II athletics. YHC is among fewer than 300 colleges and universities nationwide named to the 2013-2014 list of Colleges of Distinction. For more information, visit yhc.edu.
Young Harris College bass fishing team members and 2013 graduates Matthew Peeler, of Williamson, Ga., and Brad Rutherford, of Lavonia, Ga., placed second in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship held on Lake Chatuge.
Anglers wait to weigh-in their catches while spectators gather on the Young Harris College Campus Plaza to cheer on their teams.