Spawning of a New High School Sport;
by Brandon Meddings
Biology, Anatomy, LCHS
The current is changing in the world of high school sports in the tri-state area. Which sport is changing this landscape: Lacrosse? Cricket? Soccer? Try competitive bass fishing.
On Sunday, June 8, 2014, three schools in the tri-state area gathered at Yatesville Lake State Park in Louisa, Kentucky. Boyd County High School of Boyd County, Lawrence County High School of Lawrence County, Spring Valley High School of Wayne county West Virginia, competed in the first ever Tri-State High School Invitational Tournament. Boyd County High School won with Spring Valley Lip Rippers placing 2nd and Lawrence County High School BassDogs placing 3rd.
High School fishing is one of the fastest growing high school sports in Kentucky and West Virginia. Not only that, but bass fishing also one of the fastest growing high school sports in the nation. In 2008, Illinois became the first state to sanction the sport of bass fishing as a high school sport. Shortly thereafter, Kentucky became the 2nd state to sanction the sport. Fishing is not just a high school sport, but colleges who have bass fishing teams now offer scholarships to high school students.
Since then, high school teams have spawned all across the state creating a new extra-curricular outlet for students. “My kids love it,” says Melvin Lawhorn, coach of Boyd County High School’s bass club who started the club in 2012. “This gives those students who are not interested in traditional sports a chance to do something they love.” Lawhorn produced two teams in the KHSAA State Championship tournament last year. Both teams traveled to Kentucky Lake in April 2013 to compete in the championship.
This spring alone, Lawrence County High School and Spring Valley High School created their teams.
“It was a challenge to organize everything, but it’s paying off in the long-run,” said Brandon Meddings, coach of the LCHS Bassdogs. “I have several students who are interested in joining next year. My numbers will double.”
Ed Mathis, coach of Spring Valley Lip Rippers, stated, “My boys really enjoyed the tournament today. They are already asking for another.” Both Lawrence County High School and Spring Valley High School will continue to grow and follow the footsteps of other high school bass teams.
For winning this past weekend’s tournament, Boyd County High School will receive a traveling trophy that will be passed around to the winning schools.
LC sophomore Michael Skaggs qualified himself and the team for the Kentucky BASS Nation High School championship in October.
“We are looking to make this a yearly event,” Lawhorn stated.
The sport of high school bass fishing is growing and will continue to do so in the heart of Appalachia and the rest of the nation.