MARTIN, Tenn. — Three-peat fame is often reserved for sports teams that win consecutive championships. But, the UT Martin bass anglers have achieved a significant three-peat of their own as the team earned a third consecutive top-25 Association of Collegiate Anglers national ranking posted at collegiatebasschampionship.com
. The team finished 17th, which followed a team-best 10th place finish in 2013 and 22nd place finish in 2012.
Dylan Powley, a fifth year senior marketing major from Paris and team president, is pleased with the recently completed season, but he wants more when the team hits the college bass fishing circuit for his final year. Moving up is a challenge as competition increases among the more than 200 college teams listed in this year’s final rankings.
Bass fishing is a club sport at UT Martin and depends on sponsorships, donations and university support to compete. Although fall tournaments are available for competition, college bass fishing’s main tournament schedule that most affects national rankings begins in the spring and continues through June. Top events happen in three main series: the FLW, the Association of Collegiate Anglers and the College Bassmaster. The ACA runs the team rankings, but all three college fishing circuits figure into the final point totals.
National rankings are determined by 30 events, with up to five tournaments key to earning major points. Teams earn a point for each boat they finish ahead of in a tournament, while some events award double points. The UT Martin team’s first major tournament last spring was March 14-15 at the Collegiate Bass Fishing Open on Chickamauga Lake in Dayton, Tenn. The team didn’t finish high in the tournament standings, but Powley said the event set the tone for “(grinding) out finishes” in later competition.
Three months and five tournaments later, Powley and teammate Colin Bennett, a senior engineering student from Gleason, finished 75 out of more than 100 boats in the 2014 Carhartt College Bass Wild Card tournament at Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala. Although not the finish wanted, the team managed enough points to secure a top-25 national ranking.
Highlights happened along the tournament trail, including the team’s winning its first collegiate bass tournament championship March 29 at the Tennessee Collegiate Bass Fishing Trail on Kentucky Lake. Powley and Hayden Smith, a sophomore engineering major from Dickson, won the tournament with a total catch of 18.5 pounds. “It really wasn't a big tournament, but that was probably the best moment,” Powley said.
Another highlight came May 22-23 during the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship on Pickwick Lake near Florence, Ala. Miranda Carlton, one of two female team members, qualified to fish and was the only female to compete out of 170 teams. Carlton, a sophomore natural resources management major from Greenbrier, fished with veteran team member Ryan Lackey, a graduate student from Parsons, and their boat earned valuable points in the tournament.
Looking ahead to his final season, Powley is optimistic about the team’s prospects for improving its national ranking. Key graduations from the previous team included 2013 Bassmaster Angler of the Year Grayson Smith. Losing this kind of experience led to a younger roster for 2013-14 and heavier reliance on less-experienced team members.
“I was surprised. Usually freshmen, we get about two or three (on the roster) a year,” Powley said. “But we’ve got six or seven that really have stuck with it and seem very interested and are taking steps to become better fishermen and really get involved with the club. I think it’s headed in a good direction.”
Powley is seeing college fishing become more competitive, with freshmen team members at larger schools entering the sport with more experience and making an immediate impact. “In theory, I would only expect us to be better,” he said about the upcoming season, adding, “It only takes one or two (freshmen) though to really jumpstart a program or give it a new boost of energy.” The team will also seek to increase sponsorships and fish more tournaments to improve point totals with the goal to achieve the team’s best finish ever.
Powley sees his years of involvement with the bass anglers team as an entryway into the outdoors industry. He comes from a family that fishes; his older brother works for Strike King Lure Co. and had an opportunity to pursue fishing professionally. “I definitely want to get into the outdoor industry through this,” he said. “I feel like I made some connections.”
In the meantime, look for Dylan Powley and other bass angler team members to staff a booth Aug. 25 at the annual Student Organization Fair in the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center. The event welcomes back students on the first day of fall classes and showcases opportunities for campus involvement. The team will be looking for a few good men and women to take college bass fishing to the next level at UT Martin.
PHOTO: Dylan Powley, UT Martin bass anglers team president.
UT Martin Bass Anglers Club 2013 - 2014
Advisor: Dr. John Overby, UT Martin College of Business and Global Affairs
President: Dylan Powley
Vice President: Kyle Winstead
Treasurer: Ryan Parks
Secretary: Miranda Carlton
2013 – 2014 Members
· Owen Ashbaugh, freshman, pre-biology, Jackson
· Colin Bennett, senior, engineering, Gleason
· Miranda Carlton, sophomore, natural resources management, Greenbrier
· Dylan Coleman, junior, agriculture, Newbern
· Rowdy Englert, sophomore, natural resources management, Jackson
· Ryan Lackey, graduate student, MBA Program, Parsons
· Cody Magness, senior, natural resources management, Bartlett
· Zach Morphis, junior, agriculture, Cordova
· Cody Neely, freshman, natural resources management, McEwen
· Ryan Parks, sophomore, agriculture, Jackson
· Dylan Powley, senior, marketing, Paris
· Hayden Smith, sophomore, engineering, Dickson
· Sydney Taylor, sophomore, agriculture, Jackson
· Kyle Winstead, sophomore, engineering, Union City
· UT Martin Office of Campus Recreation
· Strike King Lure Co.
· Vicious Fishing
· DBS & Associates Engineering, Inc., Clarksville, Tenn.