Sandites of the Week: Caden Pennington and John Miller qualify for two National Championships

Photo courtesy of Tador Miller.

The Sand Springs High School fishing club recently brought home the club trophy from the Oklahoma Bass Nation High School State Championship. Three Sand Springs teams placed in the top fifteen and one duo took second place overall to qualify for the National Championship.

Sand Springs has eleven fishing teams, each consisting of two student anglers and one adult coach/captain. The sport is not officially recognized by the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association, nor is it funded by Sand Springs Public Schools, but it has grown tremendously in the past few seasons. 

Noah Daczewitz and Hunter Hilger started the club last year and were soon joined by two other teams before the season concluded. Now, Sand Springs is one of the largest clubs in the state. The sport as a whole has tripled in size from 42 teams last year to more than 150 at present time. There are no divisions based on school or town size.

94 boats launched on Lake Texoma Sunday morning and only 69 even caught a single fish. Fifteen teams caught the five-fish limit and Washington High School's Dale Rigsby and Will Manning came in first place with 15.74 pounds. Sand Springs's Team 2, John Miller and Caden Pennington, were right behind them with five fish totaling 15.46 pounds, the second-largest catch in Sand Springs history and the largest catch for Team 2. 

Daczewitz and Hilger came in twelfth place with five fish totaling 9.67 pounds, Ty Steelman and Braden Millican took fifteenth place with five fish totaling 9.22 pounds, Jerret Haley and Corbin Williams took 39th place with two fish totaling 5.16 pounds, and Seth Kearns and Cole Scott brought in 62nd place with one fish weighing 2.46 pounds. With the top two teams combining for 25.13 pounds, Sand Springs defeated Broken Arrow for the club trophy by 3.86 pounds. 

Miller and Pennington will get to compete at the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship June 19th on Barkley and Kentucky Lakes. They also recently won the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) Missouri Open on Stockton Lake to qualify for the FLW Nationals June 27th at Pickwick Lake in Florence, Alabama. They caught four bass weighing 9 pounds even, defeating the Runners-Up by one ounce. The Second-Place team caught the five-fish limit.

The rest of the Sandites still have an opportunity to qualify for nationals. Though the State Championship was this weekend, the OBN season doesn't actually come to a close till June 4th. Two more tournaments will be held on Ft. Gibson and Keystone Lakes. Three tournaments have already been held prior to State, and the State catches won't count towards the overall Trail standings.

Daczewitz and Hilger are currently fourth in the standings, followed by Miller and Pennington at eighth, Kyle and Kale Hilligoss in ninth, Kearns and Scott in thirteenth, Haley and Williams in 55th, Millican and Steelman in 68th, and Austin Smith and Joe Nelson in 89th. Four other teams have yet to place in a tournament this season. Jacob Weathers and Bryson Wooten comprise Team 8, Hayden King and Collin Brady are Team 9, Carl McClaflin and Ryan Linquist are Team 10, and Chase Meyers and George Russell are Team 11. 

Before the next OBN events is the Student Angler Federation (SAF) State Championship on May 27th at Lake Eufala.