A bass fishing team hailing from East Jessamine High School reached the final round of one of the sport’s most prestigious events this past weekend.
Senior Casey Shearer and recent graduate Levi Keith finished 12th at the Mossy Oak Bassmaster High School National Championship held Aug. 8-10 at Paris Landing State Park on the Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tenn.
Keith and Shearer were the only Kentucky team to make the finals in a competition that included 300 teams from across the United States and Canada, according to East Jessamine fishing coach Mark Marshall. Another team East Jessamine, Jacob Wielgus and Ridge Rutledge, tied for 195th and were cut after day one.
Shearer and Keith’s 22 pounds, 9 ounces caught over the first four days got them into the final round, but, unfortunately, they came up empty on day five.
“They were in 23rd place on Thursday and had two hours worth of boat problems, so … to still come in 23rd, I thought they had a real good shot,” Marshall said of how his team worked its way into the top 12.
“This is the high school version of the Bassmaster Classic that the pros do,” Marshall said. “They gave away close to a half a million dollars worth of scholarships. My guys each got $1,000 scholarships and they both got offers to go to Bethel University on fishing scholarships. …
“They did a great job all year, those two guys. They’ve fished together for five years and did just about everything you could do as far as being anglers of the year, and that’s actually their second trip to the Bassmaster high school classic.”
The Bassmaster events are separate from the high school season, which ends with the KHSAA State Bass Fishing Championships in May.
“This is kind of like our Super Bowl of bass fishing,” Marshall said.