By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (August 2, 2017) — D’Anna Green is going fishing this fall, and she expects at least a couple dozen Stephenville High School students will be loading boats and baiting their lines to join her.
Green, a longtime SISD teacher and junior high girls coach, has been tabbed to lead the new Stephenville High School Bass Fishing Club, which begins competition in the fast-approaching school year as part of the Texas High School Bass Association (THSBA – CLICK HERE FOR WEBSITE to see breakdown of divisions, membership packets, open entry forms, eligibility forms and tournament rules).
“So many kids love to do outdoors sports like fishing,” said Green. “About 30 kids signed up in the spring, so we’ll see if it’s still that many when school starts. It could be less, but it may be more. Being the first year, I’m not sure what to expect.”
The club is open to all students in grades 9-12, but there are costs – annual THSBA membership dues of $60 and an additional $60 entry fee for each tournament. Green is hoping for community donations and fundraisers to alleviate some – or all – of the dues.
Stephenville is joining the THSBA’s West Division, which has five tournaments on its schedule beginning September 23 in Lewisville and concluding March 17 in Whitney. For qualifiers, there are regionals April 14 in Lewisville and the THSBA State Championship May 19-20 on Lake Sam Rayburn between Lufkin and Jasper in the southeastern corner of the state.
THSBA is divided into six divisions, the others being the Northeast, East, North, Central and Houston. Schools are allowed to cross over and compete in tournaments hosted by other divisions, but students must fish a minimum of three open events from their respective division to be eligible for regionals.
Advancing to regionals requires finishing in the top 40 percent of qualified student anglers in one’s designated region, or being a member of the division’s Team of the Year, an honor advancing all qualifying members from the winning school to the regional tournament.
The state championship field will be comprised of the top 40 percent from each regional tournament. If there is a tie for the last qualifying team to finish in the top 40 percent, each tied team advances.
“This is another opportunity to get kids involved in extracurricular activities that are so integral to a good all-around education,” Green said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to doing everything we can to put more Stephenville kids in position to experience success.”
The big thing, Green says, is the opportunity to win scholarships.
“In the big picture, that’s what you’re after is scholarship money. Any and all scholarships help, so that’s the ultimate goal is to have some students earn scholarship money.”
Green does need help from parents or other interested anglers and boatsmen. Every two-angler team must have a boat captain at least 21 years old who is either an immediate family member or has not entered a tournament with an entry fee of more than $5,000. To captain a boat at regionals or state, one must first have captained a boat in a regular season tournament. Anglers are not allowed to fish if the captain is not present on the boat.
“If we have 30 kids, that’s 15 teams, so we would have to show up at a tournament with 15 boat captains,” said Green. “Obviously I can’t captain 15 boats, so that’s where we need the most help. I’m hoping most of the students who are interested enough to want to compete have parents or family with a boat and an eligible captain who is available when we need them.”
The THSBA’s slogan, “Featuring the best high school anglers in Texas,” is made possible by a handful of big-name sponsors including Yamaha, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Fun-N-Sun Boat Sales and other large companies thriving from such a market.
The THSBA mission statement, at the bottom of its WEBSITE HOMEPAGE reads, “It is the goal of the Texas High School Bass Association to provide a venue where high school students have the opportunity to compete in organized tournaments while establishing strict guidelines and academic standards that will allow our student anglers to excel in the classroom and on the lake.”
Green, who has taught outdoor adventure classes including instruction in archery and more, says it’s a great next step for the district.
“Whether we get a lot of the same students who compete in other sports or new faces who see it as their opportunity to get involved, it’s another chance to compete for something while taking pride in representing our school,” Green said. “I believe competing and being part of a team working toward a common goal are teaching points crucial to attaining a well-rounded education.”