Kennan Deane and Mikey Gordon (right) of Athens High School took first place in the IHSA high school bass fishing sectional tournament held at Sangchris Lake. Chris Young/The State Journal-Register.

Athens, Chatham Glenwood, North Mac advance to state bass finals

April 26, 2013 at 06:18 AM

Athens High School powered through muddy water conditions to take first place in the Illinois High School Association bass fishing sectional at Sangchris Lake on Monday.

The sectional was supposed to have been held last Friday, but was postponed until Monday because of the weather. In all, 16 sectionals statewide had to be postponed because of bad weather or high water.

Conditions were tough for those few sectionals that were held last Friday. At the Argyle and Shelbyville sectionals, not a single fish was brought to the scales. Schools had to catch at least one fish to qualify for the state tournament.

A few sites still were off limits to fishing Monday, including Banner Marsh and the Chain O’ Lakes State Park in northern Illinois. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources closed Banner Marsh to the public indefinitely due to the threat of record high water levels on the Illinois River.

At Sangchris, the Athens team of Mikey Gordon and Kennan Deane took first place with a catch of 14.36 pounds.

Second place went to Chatham Glenwood High School with 12.75 pounds. Team members are Kyle Copp, Caleb Paoli and Connor Brunsman.

The North Mac High School team of Taylor Bearden and Brandon Smith was third with 11.43 pounds.

The second Athens squad took fourth place but ran away with big bass honors with a fish weighing 5.57 pounds caught by Wes Gordon.

Many schools brought two teams to the competition, and more than 133 pounds of fish were caught Monday.

The top three schools qualify for the state finals to be held May 3-4 at Carlyle Lake.

Kerry Trueblood, who coaches the winning Athens team, said recent rains have muddied the water at Sangchris Lake, making fishing tough.

“That mud we had the east end was extremely muddy,” he said. “If you continued west beyond the west boat ramp, then the water magically turned clear. (Our team caught all of its) fish in the clear water. It was much more fishable water.”

Kurt Gibson, associate executive director of the IHSA, said the remaining sectional tournaments will be held Friday, with the exception of Chain O’ Lakes.

“It is not available and won’t be available to boat traffic for a couple of weeks,” he said.

Gibson said the maximum number of boats advancing from 22 sectional tournaments would be 66, but two sectionals advanced no boats and a few advanced only one team.

“We know that we won’t reach that number this year,” he said.

Chris Young can be reached at (217) 788-1528 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).