Athens High School extends outdoors sports dynasty

April 23, 2011 at 08:09 AM

Athens High School extended its outdoors sports dynasty by winning its third Illinois High School Association bass fishing sectional tournament Thursday at Sangchris Lake.

Brock McEvoy, who also fished last year’s state meet as a sophomore, helped bring the victory home, catching two of his team’s biggest bass.

“The minute I saw that first big fish and I got him in the net, I went, ‘whoa,’” McEvoy said. “I was jumping up and down.”

The tournament was one of 19 statewide Thursday and today. The top three finishers in each sectional advance to the state finals May 6-7 on Lake Carlyle.

The Athens team, one of two from the school entered in the sectional, took first place, followed by teams from (Springfield) Lutheran High School and Edinburg.

Athens team members are Stephen Sybert, Mikey Streit, Jon Jones and McEvoy. The team’s boat captain is Ross Santos.

This is the third year the IHSA has held a state finals in bass fishing.

Participation has risen from 199 schools in 2009 to 222 schools this year.

Alternative sports are intended to appeal to students who may not excel in traditional sports. In the past few years, Athens has won three state archery championships and three sectional bass fishing titles.

“It might be our claim to fame,” said coach Kerry Trueblood, noting that bass fishing is becoming more established as a sport.

“It’s really caught on,” he said. “There are more and more schools every year, and this year all of the school had two boats entered.”

Athens has a pretty good shot at keeping its dynasty going. All of the state-qualifying team members are back next year.

Jones is a sophomore, and Sybert and Streit are freshmen.

And McEvoy will be back, too.

“Brock just loves it,” Trueblood said. “And today’s conditions were conducive to how he likes to fish. He likes flipping up on the bank and throwing spinnerbaits. He was just ecstatic.”

Chris Young can be reached at 788-1528.