Members of the new Collegiate Bass Team at PHCC include (from left, front row) Octavius Johnson, Beau Custer, Samantha Spencer, Derrick Scales, Jon Helms Jr., (back row) Trey Joyce, Brandon McAlexander, Dustin Wagner, Blaine Atkins and Matthew Davis.
Michael Bryant, a PHCC instructor for HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) and building trades courses, acts as an adviser to the group. Bassmaster sanctions the team and Bryant acts as president for Bassmaster in Virginia.
The PHCC team has 10 members that practice nearly every weekend. The major competition coming up for the college division is BASSfest from June 11-15 in Dayton, Tenn. Bryant said the team has a real shot at winning.
“If they win the championship, they can win scholarship money for the college and for themselves,” he said. “If they do well there, they can go to nationals. And the person that wins at nationals will go on to the Bassmaster Classic.”
Bryant said he decided to start a bass team after several individuals and students asked about a collegiate team at the college.
“I represent the entire state for Bassmaster, and we have a lot of youth programs across the region,” he said. “We have collegiate teams in the state that came to Philpott (Lake) last year for a tournament. After that, we had many students asking if PHCC could have a team.”
Once he spoke with representatives at Bassmaster, Bryant said they told him to try it at PHCC.
Although the team just had their first group meeting on March 19, Bryant said the students have hit the ground running.
He said, “I’m just the adviser – they run it. I just make sure they follow all the rules and regulations … We have some really good fisherman, so I think they will do really well.”
Members of the team include President Octavius Johnson, Secretary Samantha Spencer and members Beau Custer, Blaine Atkins, Brandon McAlexander, Derrick Scales, Dustin Wagner, Jon Helms Jr., Matthew Davis and Trey Joyce.
Sometime in the summer, Bryant said he hopes to have a college fish-off with other regional collegiate teams from Virginia Tech, Radford University and Roanoke College.