For just being in the eighth grade, two Cutter Morning Star anglers boast an impressive list of accolades and achievements.
Hunter Denton and Zane Cobb won back-to-back junior high Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioners' Cups in 2022 and 2023, and have $3,732.70 in career earnings.
"For being the first juniors to win it back-to-back," Cobb said, "it's pretty nice to win it two years in a row."
Both Denton and Cobb highlighted the Commissioners' Cup as the event that stood out to them the most and as one of the most special events to compete in.
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"It's a really important tournament," Denton said. "You get looked at a lot from that tournament."
Cutter Morning Star head fishing coach Tish Tucker emphasized just what it meant for her to see her anglers win the Commissioners' Cup two years in a row.
"Just all of the people that show up and help support these kids is phenomenal," Tucker said. "They have done great last year and this year. The excitement, oh gosh, just the excitement of them winning. I was so excited I don't think I slept for two days."
When adding in baits, lures, rods, reels and many other prizes, Denton and Cobb have won over $7,700 from fishing.
Winning five out of the 11 tournaments they fished in over the past season, Denton and Cobb caught 45 fish for 86.30 pounds.
In three years and 31 tournaments, Denton and Cobb have caught 252.11 pounds worth of fish and placed first nine times.
The two anglers also captured the junior high Trader Bills Championship back-to-back, and qualified for the TBF Junior World Championship on Sooner Lake in Ponca City, Oklahoma, from July 25-28.
Denton and Cobb attribute a lot of their success to their boat captain, Garry Sutton. Sutton taught them how to use different rods and lures, and lets them do their thing out on the water.
"He's great," Denton said. "He'll pull us up to a spot and say, 'Here you go.' And he'll let us take over sometimes. It's fun letting us catch in front of him. I think we make him proud."
Without understanding the sport of fishing, it might be hard to understand the depth of all the little technical aspects that go into making a great angler.
"(I've improved) a lot," Denton said. "I've learned how to use different baits and use different rods and why that rod matters and why that bait matters in the different times of the year. There's a whole bunch more. You've got to learn which rod you're using for a certain type of bait. You've got to know what the lake is about."
Being an angler isn't just about being technical, it's also about dealing with long days and persevering through tough moments on the water.
"I'm just proud of these kids and it's hard," Tucker said. "They're on the water fishing and it's hard. There's a lot that goes into it. They're out there from 5 a.m, 6 a.m., and they weigh in anywhere between 3 and 4 depending on a tournament. They're fishing 12 hours. They're not giving up. Some days they are bringing in a good sack of five-fish limit. There's other times they're not. They keep grinding. They keep going."
Denton and Cobb will head to the senior high level next season, and Tucker aims to grow the program at Cutter Morning Star with more anglers.
The star eighth graders have laid a great foundation for themselves and any future Eagle angler.
"Just the difference in last year and this year," Tucker said. "This year they just walk to the scale with more confidence. You can just see the passion in their eyes. I love that they're just passionate about it. They're fishing anytime that they can. Having that experience and having the boat captain they have and the support from our community that they have, they're just able to keep going and fish these tournaments and just keep going to the state level."