WADDINGTON — As the host school for the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship, being staged on the St. Lawrence River out of Waddington, Clarkson University was hopeful that one its two club teams in the field of 125 could make the cut for the final 12.
Clarkson officials could not have been prouder with the performances Friday as the Golden Knight duo of sophomore James Gillis and recent May graduate Craig Beucler placed fifth at 40 pounds and 7 ounces. The duo Dante Piraino and Hunter Stone tied for 12th at 36-9 but lost the tiebreaker to Logan Anderson and Tyler Little of North Carolina State.
Piraino and Stone used an 18-14 bag Friday to follow a solid 17-11 Thursday bag, but Anderson and Little came in with Friday’s biggest bag of 23-0 and won the tiebreaker to take the 12th-and-final spot for the Saturday finale.
Gillis and Beucler, who both developed their fishing skills catching smallmouth and largemouth bass in New Hampshire, weighed in 18-14 on Friday after a 21-9 Thursday start and will enter today’s championship launch 2-7 behind the front-running Adrian College team of Griffin Fernandes and Scott Hayden.
They lead the field at 43-4 after following up a 22-14 Thursday bag with Friday’s 20-6 bag.
The Murray State University duo of Adam Puckett and Brendan Bingham is seven ounces off the lead at 42-13 in second place, followed by Jacob Woods and Samuel Vandagriff from Tennessee Tech at 40-14 and Tristan McCormick of Bethel University in fourth place at 40-10.
The Golden Knights like their chances of competing for the national title and are seven ounces behind third place and one of three spots awarded from the tournament to the College Bracket at the Bassmaster Classic.
“I am really excited about our position. We are in good shape, our spots are producing,” Gillis said.
“We both used a Max Scent Flatworm all day and we only traveled about 30 minutes.”
Rounding the top nine are: Hunter Bond and GL Compton of Clemson University at 39-6, Jack Tindell and Brett Fregia of Lamar State College Orange at 38-14, two Auburn University teams in Sam Hanggi and Sam Hoesley at 38-14, and Conner Crosby and James Cobbs at 38-4.
Tyler Christy and Trey Schroeder of McKendree University at 38-1 and Joe McClosky and Ryan Winchester of Bethel University at 37-10 stand 10th and 11th, respectively.
“Today we caught fish anywhere from five to 50 feet and we are definitely on the same page,” Beucler said. “With only 12 boats (Saturday) there will be a lot less pressure. I think we will definitely catch 20 pounds.”
Hayden Scott and Griffin Fernandes of Michigan-based Adrian College took the second day lead to note a breakthrough after falling short of Championship Saturday in the past two years.
“We ran all the way to Clayton because we thought it was our best chance to get big fish,” Scott said. “We fished in 30 to 45 feet of water and rotated all of our stuff with a drop shot.”
The duo who hails from Michigan (Scott) and Indiana (Fernandes) anchored the second-day bag with a 5-9 smallmouth that was the biggest fish of the day.
“We didn’t get a lot of bites today but we got some big bites and landed them,” Fernandes said. “We had never fished the St. Lawrence before and on the first two days of practice we didn’t catch much. But on the third day we started to find them. I really feel that our spots will hold up.”
Tripp Bowman and Blakely Young from Louisiana State University-Shreveport remained atop the Carhartt Big Bass board with a 6-10 smallmouth they caught on Day 1.
Bassmasters College Series Championship
Day 2 standings
(Top 25, Top 12 advance to today’s final)
1. Adrian College (H. Scott-G. Fernandes) Total: 10 fish; 43 pounds, 4 ounces; Friday: 5, 20-6; 2. Murray State (A. Puckett-B. Bingham) Total: 10; 42-13; Friday: 5, 22-0; 3. Tennessee Tech (J. Woods-S. Vandagriff) Total: 10, 40-14; Friday: 5, 19-14; 4. Bethel University (T. McCormick-S. Mills) Total: 10, 40-10; Friday: 5, 16-1; 5. Clarkson University (J. Gillis-C. Beucler) Total: 10, 40-7; Friday: 5, 18-14; 6. Clemson Uiversity (H. Bond-GL Compton) Total: 10, 39-6; Friday: 5, 15-10; 7. Lamar State (J. Tindell-B. Fregia) Total: 10, 38-14; Friday: 5, 17-7; 8. Auburn University (S. Hanggi-S. Hoesley) Total: 10, 38-14; Friday: 5, 20-15; 9. Auburn (C. Crosby-J. Cobbs) Total 10, 38-4; Friday: 5, 20-9; 10. North Carolina State (L. Anderson-T. Little) Total: 10, 36-9; Friday: 19-12
11. Bethel (J. McClosky-R. Winchester) Total: 10, 37-10; Friday: 5, 17-9; 12. NC State (L. Anderson-T. Little) Total: 10, 36-9; Friday: 5, 23-0; 13. Clarkson (D. Piraino-H. Stone) Total: 10, 36-9; Friday: 5, 18-14; 14. Bryan College (r. Lindsey-M. Cizek) Total: 10, 36-5; Friday: 5, 19-8; 15. Adrian (T. Vanbrandt-J. Layton) Total: 10, 35-14; Friday: 5, 18-2; 16. University of Montevallo (J. Willoughby-C. Schwartz) Total: 10, 35-14; Friday: 5, 17-13; 17. Emmanuel College (C. Holloway-T. Mcmullen) Total: 10, 35-9; Friday: 5, 15-7; 18. Emmanuel (T. Campbell-C. Hudson) Total: 10: 35-6; Friday: 5, 18-5; 19. T. Lubbat-H. O’barr, Total: 10: 34-11; Friday: 5, 17-7; 20, Emmanuel (D. Whaley-C. Casey) Total 10, 34-8; Friday: 5, 15-12; 21. Montevallo (T. Sendek-A. Howell) Total: 10, 34-6; Friday: 5, 18-13; 22. Montevallo (Morris) Total: 10, 34-5; Friday: 5, 14-12: 23. Montevallo (W. Hollar-W. Gore) Total: 10, 34-3; Friday: 5, 20-0; 24. Carson-Newman University (B. Cully-H. Gaddis) Total: 10, 34-0; Friday: 5, 15-12; 25. Stephen F. Austin State (J. York-J. Miller) Total: 10, 34-0; Friday: 5, 16-1