Lake Springfield proved to be a fine state championship setting
Lake Springfield proved a good choice, for both the fishing and the setting, for the ICASSTT Clash, a state championship of high school bass fishing; plus the Stray Cast.
SPRINGFIELD — Downers Grove North’s Ethan Park and Jack Richtman were congratulating Argenta-Oreana’s Chase Logue and Garrett White on Sunday at Lake Springfield when the surprise came that the Trojans actually had edged the Bombers to win the ICASSTT Clash.
That befits teams that finished that close.
‘‘We were in the same area all day and [Saturday],’’ said Richtman, a freshman.
Argenta-Oreana led after the first day Saturday with 18 pounds, 7 ounces, anchored by Logue’s 6-pound largemouth bass. Park and Richtman were second at 16-2, but they registered 13 pounds on the second day Sunday to total 29-2 to Argenta-Oreana’s 28-13.
‘‘We just stuck to it, working and grinding,’’ said Park, a sophomore.
Boat captain/coach Randy Dunlap seconded that.
‘‘Just grinding,’’ he said. ‘‘They didn’t stop working. They worked hard and had fun.’’
They used a variety of baits, from plastics to crankbaits.
As for the fun, that’s the best part of the Illinois Coaches and Students State Tournament Trail (ICASSTT). The main reason the Illinois Bass Fishing Coaches Association started it was to ‘‘provide more opportunities for all Illinois high school anglers to compete.’’
Beside more competition, ICASSTT offered scholarships and a path to the Bassmaster High School National Championship on Aug. 11-13 on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina.
The top seven teams at the ICASSTT Clash, a two-day, 66-boat state championship, advanced to nationals. Also advancing were Breese Central (27-1), Morris Boat 1’s Kaiya Ziga and Trace McKinney (26-14), Morris Boat 2’s Chase Ellison and Gage Phillips (26-10), Lincoln-Way Central Boat 1’s Joe Padula and Zach Wolfe (26-1) and Teutopolis (25-7).
Batavia coach Brian Drendel, the president of the IBFCA, had 14 chairs set up as hot seats. Halfway through the weigh-in Sunday, the top seven teams filled the chairs. If a team was bumped, the seating changed. Argenta-Oreana weighed in last, building the excitement.
I stood by Lincoln-Way Central coach Jeff Wolfe (Zach’s dad) as the final teams weighed in. The Knights’ chances for nationals hung in the scales.
‘‘That’s what I love about this,’’ he said. ‘‘Everything is so close.’’
Wolfe has high hopes for Hartwell with a buddy living near there.
Humberto Gonzalez, a gym teacher and the former bass-fishing coach at Naperville North, kept up running banter and wisecracks while emceeing the weigh-in and take-off. When Vienna weighed in, Gonzalez pronounced it correctly. That’s VEYE-en-uh, according to the Illinois Agricultural Communications Program and WILL Public Media.
Then he added: ‘‘Where I come from, that’s Vienna, like the hot dog.’’
Walk-up music for teams was all over the map. Downers North had Blake Shelton’s ‘‘God’s Country’’; Argenta-Oreana had Young Jeezy’s ‘‘Put On’’; and Morris Boat 2 had will.i.am’s ‘‘Big and Chunky.’’ Walk-up music wasn’t played Sunday.
The real fun came from fishing Lake Springfield. Nineteen teams topped 20 pounds, part of why it made a good choice for a state championship. The lake features multiple coves to provide wind protection and has many options for launching or loading in wind.
Results are at ibfca.org/results-standings.
It’s good to see multiple Baltimore orioles around with the feeders out again. I feel slightly guilty feeding them cut-rate grape jelly.
The most accurate moniker I ever bestowed was ‘‘The Lakefront Lip’’ on Ken Schneider, but ‘‘South Side Sourpuss’’ begins to feel even more apt for somebody else.