REDDING, Calif.—In its inaugural year, Simpson University’s bass fishing team will compete in its first college tournament of 2020 on Lake Shasta on Sunday, Jan. 26.
In addition, two team members have qualified to compete in the FLW Yeti College Fishing National Championship in Leesburg, Fla., Feb. 26-28.
The six-person team, under the direction of coach Alex Thiemann, comprise a new club sport for Simpson University that has garnered significant local attention. An introductory BBQ event on campus Oct. 19 that featured pro angler Jimmy Reese drew more than 50 people (Reese’s son Sheldon is one of the team members).
For the first year, Thiemann has concentrated on building the team. “We are establishing a culture that not only focuses on fishing but ensuring a focus on academics and community service,” he said.
Members competed in their first tournament in September, and Nathan Phillips and Ryan Beaty qualified for the national competition next month.
This month, the team is looking forward to competing in the Wild West Bass Trail College Series on their home waters of Lake Shasta against 15 to 20 other college teams from throughout the western U.S.
“Our guys would really like to do well at this first tournament of 2020,” Thiemann said. “This is our home lake and we’ll never have an opportunity to be this prepared.”
The team, which has new jerseys, is grateful for the generous sponsorship of local businesses Black Bear Diner and Harrison’s Marine & RV, as well as Phil’s Propeller.
“Their help and support is the reason these guys will be able to travel all the way to Florida for the national championship,” Thiemann said. “We are thankful for their generosity in helping us grow this great program in the beautiful North State.”
Photo: Four members of Simpson University’s bass fishing team
Simpson University, founded in 1921, moved to Redding 30 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 25 majors in its traditional undergraduate program, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its ASPIRE degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 8-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. Simpson University is recognized nationally by Colleges of Distinction.
Simpson is launching new athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team. The university is also working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements, and it is offering new scholarships.