REDDING, Calif.—Simpson University’s bass fishing team took home top honors Jan. 26 in its first college tournament of 2020 on its home waters of Lake Shasta.
The team of Nathan Phillips and Chase Sherman topped the field of 14 teams at the Wild West Bass Trail College Series, which included anglers from Chico State, Fresno State, and Oregon State universities. Their five-fish limit weighed in at 10.78 pounds and included the biggest catch of the day, a 2.45-pounder.
Simpson University had three teams on the water. The team of Sheldon Reese and Taj White placed fifth, with a weigh-in of 9.52 pounds. Ryan Beaty and Luke Blanchard came in 11th, with a 6.91-pound weigh-in.
“Overall, the fishing conditions were tough,” coach Alex Thiemann said. “That being said, our guys fished hard and put together a winning pattern. I was proud that Nathan and Chase got the win, but equally proud that our other teams put themselves in a position in which victory was only a bite or two away.”
As first-place winners, Phillips and Sherman earned $1,000. Phillips, along with Beaty, has already qualified to compete in the FLW Yeti College Fishing National Championship in Leesburg, Fla., Feb. 26-28.
At the weigh-in at Bridge Bay Marina, Phillips and Sherman talked briefly about the Simpson University bass fishing program, new this academic year. The six-person team comprise a new club sport for the university.
“It’s an awesome program,” Sherman said.
Phillips talked about the unique opportunity to attend college and pursue fishing with scholarship support and generous donations from local businesses, including Black Bear Diner, Harrison’s Marine & RV, and Phil’s Propeller.
“Their support is the reason these guys will be able to travel to Florida for the national championship,” Thiemann said. “We are so thankful for their generosity.”
The Simpson University bass fishing team is recruiting for the 2020-21 school year. To learn more about the program, contact coach Thiemann at email@example.com. Follow the team on Instagram at SimpsonBass.
Photos by Nathan Bruce
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 has 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.