Florida claims FLW College Southeast Regional Title
ORLANDO, Fla. (Nov. 23, 2009) – The University of Florida team of Jake Gipson and Matthew Wercinski both of Niceville, Fla., won the National Guard FLW College Fishing Southeast Regional Championship on Lake Monroe with five bass weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces on Monday with a three-day total of 16 bass weighing 30-1. For their efforts, the team won a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Yamaha outboard wrapped in school colors and $25,000 for the University of Florida.
Things turned out rather nicely for the two Niceville natives who really felt the pressure today. Their teamwork really paid off in the end as they never gave up; catching their last fish with just minutes left to go in the tournament.
“I was freaking out,” said Wercinski a junior finance major. “Then I switched bait and started using a baby brush hog and caught the number five fish with 25 minutes left before our check-in time. I caught a third fish, which would have made our limit, but it was too short so I had to throw it back. That hurt, we thought we were going to have to catch a limit every day and to come in one short was really scary.”
“We were using speed worms, watermelon red, all weekend, added partner Gipson, a senior in industrial and systems engineering. “But today we had to downsize and use the baby brush hog. We were fishing top water and the bite was best when the sun was out, which is unusual; we were really getting a reaction bite today.”
Rounding out the top five teams are Auburn University – Shaye Baker of Reeltown, Ala., and Dennis Parker of Prattville, Ala., (18 bass, 27-11, $25,000); Auburn University – Richard Peek and Caleb Rodgers both of Centre, Ala., (14 bass, 20-2, $11,000); University of Central Florida – Matthew Norman of Fort Myers, Fla., and Dustin Lauer of South Bend, Ind., (12 bass, 19-5, $8000) and Young Harris College – Clint McNeal of Hickory Flat, Ga., and Brad Rutherford of Lavonia, Ga., (11 bass, 19-2, $6000).
“My heart is just racing,” said Baker of Auburn University as he took the stage at weigh-in. “Coming into this tournament our goal was to make the National Championship. Last night I went home and my heart started pumping faster and faster and I said, now it’s time to win! We came out today and fished with all our heart. We tried to put the pressure on and keep it close, but we just couldn’t get the big one.”
“Dennis and I found an area that had a lot of fish; it was a clear creek at the north end of the lake. We kept catching a lot of small ones but just couldn’t get the big bite. We saw them in practice so knew they were there, but we just couldn’t coax one out.”
With a whoop and a War Eagle Cry, the team from Auburn tipped their hats to the University of Florida, and said, “We are ready for Nationals, bring it on!”
The top five teams from the Southeast Regional have each earned a spot in the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship in Knoxville, Tenn., April 10-12, 2010. They will be fishing for a top prize package of $100,000 and a chance to compete in the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup.
Qualified teams in the Southeast Regional Championship include Auburn University; Clemson University; Coastal Carolina; Columbus State University; Faulkner University Freed-Hardeman University; Georgia Southern; Kennesaw State University; North Alabama; North Florida; University of Central Florida; University of Florida; University of Tennessee; University of Tennessee, Martin; and Young Harris College.
FLW Outdoors announced the College Fishing trail in May 2008. The entire schedule, which is organized around the five Stren Series Divisions, can be found by visiting CollegeFishing.com along with rules, requirements and information on how to create a bass club.
Full-time students enrolled in four year colleges or universities are eligible to participate in the events. Schools can send two-person teams to each of the four qualifying events in their division, with each event limited to a maximum of 40 teams. Each team has the opportunity to win $10,000 for first and $2,000 through fifth place. Prize money is split evenly between the winning team’s club and the school they represent. The tournaments are free to enter, boats and drivers are provided and all collegiate teams receive a travel allowance. The top five teams in each qualifying event advance to one of five televised three-day National Guard FLW College Fishing Regional Championships.
The National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship is a three-day televised event hosting the top five teams from each regional, 25 total teams. Teams will be provided shirts and wrapped Ranger boats towed by Chevy trucks for this competition. The purse for the championship ranges from $25,000 cash and a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Yamaha outboard wrapped in school colors for the winning club and $50,000 for the school they represent to $15,000 for fifth, split between the club and school.
The winning team will be declared the National Guard FLW Collegiate National Champion and will qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup presented by BP and Castrol in 2010. The winners will also receive use of a wrapped boat and Chevy truck for the Forrest Wood Cup.
Coverage of the National Guard FLW College Fishing Southeast Division Regional event on Lake Monroe will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS, the network which brings anglers the best fishing programming on television featuring the most-trusted authorities on the water. The Emmy-nominated “FLW Outdoors,” will air Dec. 27 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide, including internationally through agreements with WFN (World Fishing Network) and Matchroom Sport to such countries as Canada, Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world.
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. FLW Outdoors also has taken fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing, offering the largest awards possible in the history of fantasy sports.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.
Julie Huber, Communications Specialist, 612.337.1810 office, 612.812.9512 cell, or firstname.lastname@example.org