PEARCY -- Lake Hamilton sophomore Karson Hamilton was among just a dozen high school students selected from 465 applicants in 38 states to become members of the exclusive Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team.
A first panel chose 64 applicants as Bassmaster All-State anglers. A second panel reviewed tournament resumes, community service activities and recommendations from coaches and school officials to select the All-American team from the All-State anglers.
The 2017 team included Reese Jones, from Rogers, and Bryer Pennington, from Prescott. The rest of the team included students from Alabama, Illinois, Missouri, New York, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as two from both Louisiana and Texas.
Hamilton received the notification via email during a tournament in which he placed seventh out of more than 40 entries. He is the son of Brad and Cindy Hamilton.
"I didn't believe it," Hamilton said. "They picked a couple of guys from Arkansas last year. So I didn't think they would pick another one from Arkansas."
Members of the All-American team were invited to participate in a special Bassmaster High School All-American Bass Tournament held in conjunction this week with the 2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The festival will be held Thursday through Sunday at Lake Travis out of Jonestown, Texas.
Bassmaster Elite Series anglers will serve as teammates and "coaches" of the students in the tournament. The high school standouts will be honored on the main Texas Fest stage during the weigh-in.
The 2018 class includes one selection from Alabama, South Carolina and Texas. The four states with two All-Americans this year are Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi and Tennessee.
"We are proud to welcome an exceptional group of anglers to our 2018 class of High School All-Americans," said Bruce Akin, CEO of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. "This class has a rare combination of tournament success, leadership skill and community involvement, and we can't wait to see how they shape the future of our sport and our industry."
The High School All-American Bass Tournament marks the fourth time Bassmaster has conducted a nationwide search, presented by DICK's Sporting Goods, for top high school anglers. Participation in the tournament is not mandatory.
B.A.S.S. does provide lodging for participants and a parent or guardian, as well as some travel assistance. The All-American tournament is tentatively scheduled for Saturday.
"You just prepare for it and make sure all of your equipment is ready," Hamilton said. "I'm excited. It is the biggest tournament of my life."
Hamilton said he has been fishing competitively with the school district's Lake Hamilton Bass-N-Wolves since he was in sixth grade. The team is coached by Brian Hopkins and Greg Mundy.
Hamilton said he also competes on the Mr. Bass of Arkansas Pro-Am Bass Fishing Tournament Series. He said the Lake Hamilton School District is accommodating, helpful and supportive of the fishing team and its athletes.
"Sometimes, you get nervous for a championship or a tournament like that," Hamilton said. "For the little ones, you're just in a groove."
Hamilton also participates in football and trap shooting at Lake Hamilton.
Sponsors for the Bass-N-Wolves include Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports, Jolly G Custom Baits, Strike King and Live Like Bryce -- The Bryce Briggs Foundation.
Sports on 05/16/2018
Print Headline: LH sophomore angler to compete in All-American tournament