Four Brighton High School sophomores will have a chance to bring a national title back to Tipton County next month.
Jaxon Sherfield and Jack Houston Rushing took first place at the Student Angler Federation State Tournament last month on the Tennessee River in Perryville. Their five bass weighed in at 22 pounds, 10 ounces, which earned them a state tournament trophy that is on display at Brighton High School. That win earned the duo a berth in the nationals, which will be held on the Mississippi River in LaCrosse, Wisc. June 20-24.
The team of Jaxon Tillman and Oliver Oswalt, along with other anglers from Brighton, competed in an event in Eva, Tenn. last weekend. Tillman and Oswalt finished the season second in points, which qualified them for nationals as well.
This is just the second season Brighton has fielded a bass fishing team and the squad has already produced two teams that will compete on the national level.
“That was always the goal,” coach Brantley Tillman said about making nationals. “I just didn’t think they would get their that fast. The guys have put in a lot of hard work.”
Contrary to what some may think, bass fishing at this level is much more than just trolling around and casting randomly into the water.
“These guys study maps, water levels, currents,” Tillman said. “There’s a lot more that goes into it than people think.”
Sherfield, Rushing, Tillman and Oswalt will be competing against approximately 250 teams from around the country at nationals. Each two-person team has an adult who drives the boat, but the rest is left up to the high school fishermen. Teams have to supply their own boat and gas, which can be expensive, but charitable community members and corporate sponsors have helped the teams at Brighton become successful.
Millions of dollars in scholarship money and prizes will be up for grabs in LaCrosse.
Tillman said the trip to nationals is expected to cost $5,000 to $6,000. Anyone interested in donating money for the trip can contact Tillman at firstname.lastname@example.org.