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2009 News Releases

Longwood Fishing Club places team in regional tournament in only its second competition

September 2, 2009

Fishing Club The Longwood Fishing Club includes (from left) McKayla McGregor, John McKinney, adviser Erin Devine, Clark Barkley and Jack Pollio

In only its second competition, a team from the recently formed Fishing Club of Longwood University finished second among 40 teams in a tournament and thereby qualified for the regional tournament.

A team consisting of senior John McKinney and junior McKayla McGregor finished second in the 1000 Islands tournament July 18 in Clayton, N.Y., and qualified for the regional tournament in the Northern Division of the college fishing segment of FLW Outdoors, considered the NCAA of college fishing. McGregor is the only female to have qualified for the regional tournament of the inaugural National Guard FLW College Fishing Tour, confirmed a spokesman for FLW Outdoors. Some 15 teams (30 persons) have so far qualified for the regional tournament, which will be held Nov. 7 in Davidson, N.C.

Teams qualify for the regional tournament by finishing in the top five in any of the four division tournaments leading up to it. In competition, two-person teams, usually one or two teams per college, are judged by the poundage of bass fish, with a maximum of three fish per angler and six per team, hauled in over about seven hours on a freshwater lake. Each fish must be at least 12 inches. In the 1000 Islands Tournament, in which the anglers fished in both U.S. and Canadian waters, McKinney and McGregor brought in a total of 16 pounds, two ounces.

"The club was started last fall, and I think it's very good that we had a second place finish at only our second tournament," said the club adviser, Erin Devine, chair of the Department of Art and instructor of art history. "We've been competing among teams with far more experience. By finishing second, they won $5,000, of which $2,500 went to the Longwood Foundation, and the other $2,500 went directly to the club. We're going to use it to purchase team jerseys and so that we can fund our tournament travel and finish the season."

If the McKinney-McGregor team finishes in the top five at the regional tournament, they will qualify for the national championship, which will be held in April 2010 in Knoxville, Tenn.

Two teams from the Longwood Fishing Club also competed in the Potomac River tournament June 27 in Marbury, Md., and the Lake Champlain tournament Aug. 29 in Plattsburgh, N.Y. The other club members who have competed are club president Jack Pollio, Clark Barkley, and Anna Robinson. At least one team, of Pollio and Barkley, will compete in the fourth and final division tournament, which will be held Sept. 26 at Lake Gaston, near Bracey, Va. Teams register for tournaments on a first-come, first-served basis, though if more than 40 teams want to enter, each college is guaranteed only one team, called an "official" team, while any additional teams are "alternate" teams.

"These tournaments have a maximum of 40 boats and two anglers per boat," Devine said. "They're similar to pro BASS (Bass Anglers Sportsmen's Society) tournaments and are very professional. You go out on the water around 6:30 a.m. in an upscale bass boat with a driver, and you tell the driver where you want to go. You have to be back by a certain time, usually around 1:30 in the afternoon, then you have weigh-in. You can't keep any of the fish you catch; it's all catch and release."

The Northern Division, one of FLW Outdoors' five divisions, encompasses 15 states from Virginia all the way up to Maine. FLW Outdoors is named for Forrest L. Wood, considered the father of tournament bass fishing, and is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world.

"I was approached last fall by Jack Pollio and Clark Barkley, the latter of whom I knew because he is an art education major," said Devine. "They knew I liked to fish, and they said they wanted to start a club and asked if I would be their adviser. We applied to the SGA for club status, which was approved. We were given a little travel money by the SGA but not much, so when we travel to tournaments, we also use club members' money and my money. In the spring this year we were chosen the Rising Club or Organization here at Longwood. We have about 10 active members, of whom half are females, and meet once a month.

"As soon as we formed, we knew we wanted to compete. Plus, we're involved in the community. We sponsored a tournament at the end of March that was a fundraiser for Relay for Life. We had about 15 boats out on Briery Creek Lake. Everything we do is centered around the love of fishing."