Brother Rice took both 3rd and 4th place, missing a first place win by just 4 ounces. Senior Bryan Lee took the big bass of the tournament, which was just under 4 pounds.
Brother Rice took both 3rd and 4th place, missing a first place win by just 4 ounces. Senior Bryan Lee took the big bass of the tournament, which was just under 4 pounds.
The Crusader bass fishing team started out the 2013 season last Saturday right where they left off last year – on fire. The team fished the Oak Lawn High School Invitational Tournament Saturday, October 13, on the Des Plaines and Kankakee Rivers in Wilmington, Illinois. Fifteen area schools and 49 boats participated in the tournament. Despite strong winds, cold temperatures, and heavy rains all day, the Crusader anglers stood strong, took two of the top three places, and also landed the Big Bass for the tournament.
Seniors Matt Caulfield and Jimmy Ciurej were the 1st place tournament champions, weighing in the only five fish limit of the event out of all schools. Their winning bag of live fish totaled 7.43 pounds, topping the next closest team by almost a pound and a half. Jimmy Ciurej had the Big Bass for the tournament with a nice bruiser largemouth of 2.5 pounds. The two caught their limit by 10 A.M., fishing deeper weed edges on the Des Plaines River with spinner baits. They were each awarded a winning trophy, and Ciurej also took home a limited edition framed painting donated by Bass Pro Shops and an additional trophy for winning Big Bass of the tournament.
Juniors Joe Hayes and Brendan Moriarty took 3rd place with four live fish totaling 5.90 pounds. They missed taking 2nd place by falling just a fraction over one ounce short. The two worked a variety of crank baits and finesse baits in all types of water all day long to fill their hard-earned bag of keeper fish.
Bass fishing is becoming an increasingly popular sport with Illinois high schools, and for those who participate, fishing is serious business. It is intense and non-stop – just like the professional tournaments you see on TV. The sport is co-ed statewide, but there are many all-girl and all-boy teams from schools like Brother Rice. It is a relatively young sport; the state final competition has only been around for four years, but interest is growing every year.
The 2012 tournament schedule had the most participating schools in the sport’s history, with 232 Illinois high schools sending students out to see who can catch the most fish, and 57 schools making it to the state finals. Competitive bass fishing is spreading so rapidly across the state that regional competitions may be added in the future by the IHSA. As it stands right now, there are only sectional competitions before teams are able to head to the state championship.
Students are only allowed to use artificial bait in the competition, and all fishing is done from boats. Adult boat captains are not allowed to participate in any way other than driving the boat. Students must manage their tackle, as well as land their own fish. The winning team is determined by the weight of its five largest fish. All fish are returned to the water after the weigh-in.
Fifteen members of the BR team made the Oak Lawn Tournament trip, and all made it out on the water to fish, despite the lousy weather. We added three new trophies to our growing trophy case and certainly made a statement to all participants that Brother Rice is ready for the 2013 tournament season. Great job to everyone who attended!
The Crusader bass fishing team continued their winning streak Saturday, May 19, by capturing the District 230 Classic Championship held on the DesPlaines River in Channahon, Illinois. They also captured the Angler of the Year Award for earning the highest accumulated points for all top tournament finishers combined. The Classic Championship pit the top finishing teams from all of the District 230 tournaments this season.
Senior Luke Opoka, junior Bryan Lee, and sophomores Joe Hayes and Brendan Moriarty represented Brother Rice exceptionally well. The morning was bright and sunny with rising temperatures that would eventually peak in the mid-nineties. Opoka and Hayes took advantage of the early morning bite by adding two keeper fish to the live well with their first few casts. By the half-way point crew change, the pair had netted five keeper bass in the live well and released dozens of smaller fish. They were on the fish hot and heavy, and the action was fast and furious.
Lee and Moriarty continued their hot streak and culled three additional fish to add to the live well total. Along with Brother Rice, only two other teams out of the 15 participating were able to land the limit of five keeper bass for weigh in on this hot and sunny day. Crusader anglers weighed in five live fish for a total weight of just under nine pounds, beating the next closest team by just three ounces. Sophomore Joe Hayes also took home the big bass of the tournament award with a healthy largemouth of just under three pounds. This was Hayes second big bass award for the season. It was a great way to highlight senior Luke Opoka’s fishing career at Brother Rice. Luke is the last of the original bass team founding members and the schools only four year member right now.
This win concludes an outstanding year for the Crusader bass team, who added five new trophies to their team display case, including a coveted state sectional win. The team finished first in the District 230 Spring Showdown on April 14; captured the IHSA State Sectional Championship on April 20; finished in third place at the District 230 Three Rivers Qualifier on May 12; and concluded the season by winning the District 230 Classic Championship on May 19, which also included a trophy for Angler of the Year for having the most total points earned for all tournaments combined. The Crusaders also had a very strong showing at the IHSA State Championship at Lake Carlyle on May 4-5, making the stage on both days with limits of keeper bass.
The skill and professionalism demonstrated by the team certainly made its mark this year in competitive high school tournament bass fishing. The potent field of junior, sophomore, and freshmen members assures that the Brother Rice bass team will be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come. Head coach Ted Lowery’73, team manager Jim Opoka, and assistant coach Brian Moriarty congratulate all the members of the team for an outstanding season. Great job, men!
The championship trophy and sectional championship plaque, along with the other trophies and awards, were placed in the bass team trophy case – stop by and see it! Pictures of our Crusader bass anglers in action can be found on the Brother Rice website.
Coupled with cold rain, an early morning storm on Saturday, May 12, made for a late start to the District 230 Three Rivers Qualifier tournament and a tough day of fishing overall. Only one boat out of twenty participants was able to net the limit of five keeper fish for weigh in.
Junior Bryan Lee and sophomores Joe Hays and Brendan Moriarty were able to land three hard earned keeper bass for Brother Rice for a total weight of just under five pounds. Boat captain Ted Lowery ’73 pulled out all the stops in his game plan under the tough conditions, but the fish just didn’t cooperate. The team caught a few smaller fish but they were not able to add to their total. However, the three keeper bass were enough for a 3rd place finish for the day.
Coupled with their 1st place win in the District 230 Spring Showdown several weeks ago, the 3rd place finish qualified the team for the District 230 Classic Championship on the DesPlaines River in Channahon, Illinois on Saturday, May 19. The Classic Championship will pit the top finishing teams from previous District 230 tournaments. This tournament will close out the 2012 season and conclude an outstanding year for our Crusader anglers, who have added three new trophies to our display case this year (so far). Great job men! Best of luck and Go Crusaders!
Unlike field sports, competitive bass fishing tournaments are measured in ounces, not points, over a one or two day period. The Brother Rice bass fishing team netted their limit of 5 keepers on both Friday and Saturday over the weekend at the State High School Final Championship on Carlyle Lake in southern Illinois. Their 10 fish total of just less than 20 pounds was not enough to surpass the winning team bag of just over 27 pounds. Seven pounds may not sound like much, but in a game of ounces, 30 teams out of 57 participating schools placed ahead of the Crusaders by a narrow margin. The Brother Rice team finished a respectable 31st. Each team could weigh its five heaviest bass, 12 inches or longer, each day. Finishes were decided by the two-day totals.
With the exception of a few storm delays on both days, the tournament this year produced several new records. On the first day alone, ninety-percent of the teams weighed limits of 5 bass; 254 bass were caught for a total of 542 pounds; several 5 pound plus and 6 pound plus fish were weighed, with two additional fish just under 7 pounds. With those kinds of numbers being produced, just about every team participating had a chance to win it all on day two. Second day totals were pretty much the same. Complete totals can be found on the IHSA web site.
Senior Luke Opoka, junior Bryan Lee, and sophomores Joe Hayes and Brendan Moriarty represented Brother Rice very well. Their intensity and skill kept the Crusaders in contention right up to the final weigh in. Boat captain Ted Lowery ’73 put the team on the fish early on both days. Junior Bryan Lee hammered a nearly 5 pound bruiser early Saturday morning. The team culled many smaller fish on both Friday and Saturday but never found the additional “kicker” fish they needed to put them over the top. Pictures of our Crusaders in action can be found here.
The skill and professionalism demonstrated by the team certainly made its mark in the tournament and established Brother Rice bass fishermen as a force to be reckoned with for many years to come. Great job men and congratulations!
The team now moves on to the District 230 “Three Rivers Qualifier” on the DesPlaines River in Channahon, Illinois, on Saturday, May 12. They finish the season by returning to the DesPlaines on Saturday, May 19, in the District 230 “Classic Championship.” Best of luck and Go Crusaders!
The Brother Rice bass fishing team captured first place in the IHSA State Sectional Tournament on Wolf Lake on Friday, April 20. Brother Rice entered two boats in the tournament and took 1st and 5th place. Ten schools with a total of twenty teams competed on Wolf Lake against Brother Rice. Statewide, almost two-hundred teams from over a hundred schools competed on twenty lakes across Illinois. The weather was cold, windy, rainy, and challenging, but the Brother Rice teams were hot off the dock
Boat #1 was captained by head coach Ted Lowery ’73 with senior Luke Opoka, junior Bryan Lee, and sophomores Joe Hays and Brendan Moriarity. Opoka and Lee started the morning off quick by landing four keeper bass in the boat by ten o’clock. Hays and Moriarity were on fire, landing an additional six keepers in the afternoon and culling five fish to get to the final five fish total for weigh in. The team brought five live fish to the scale totaling 10.96 pounds, beating the next closest school for first place by over two pounds. Sophomore Joe Hayes also caught the “Big Bass” of the tournament at 2.82 pounds.
Boat #2 was captained by alumni dad Frank Wagner (Kevin ‘11) with juniors Matt Caufield, Jim Ciurej, Mike Slakis, and Nick Stimac. The team brought three live fish to the scale totaling 5.49 pounds, finishing in 5th place. Less than 1.74 pounds kept them out of a 3rd place qualifying finish.
It was a great way to highlight senior Luke Opoka’s fishing career at Brother Rice. Luke is the last of the original bass team founding members and the schools only four-year member right now. The potent field of junior, sophomore, and freshmen members assures that the Brother Rice bass team will be a force to be reckoned with in competitive high school bass fishing for many years to come. The 1st place plaque was placed in the bass team trophy case, which is growing every year.
The boat #1 team now goes downstate to Lake Carlyle on May 4 and 5 for the state championship. Sixty schools and their teams will be competing over two days for the championship. Good luck to Coach Ted Lowery and Crusader anglers Luke Opoka, Bryan Lee, Brendan Moriarity, and Joe Hays in the state championship – Go Crusaders!
With seniors and juniors taking the ACT test this weekend, our sophomore and freshmen anglers really rose to the occasion at the District 230 Spring Showdown Bass Fishing Tournament on the Des Plaines River in Channahon, Illinois, on Saturday April 14. Fifteen schools with twenty-four boats competed. Brother Rice boat number one, with sophomores Joe Hayes and Brendan Moriarity, took 3rd place with 5 live fish at the scale totaling 8.78 pounds. Joe Hayes also captured the “big bass” of the tournament with a healthy 2.11 pound largemouth. Less than one pound separated the top three finishing teams.
Brother Rice boat number two, with freshmen Adan Magnan, Pat West, and Nick Taylor, finished 12th overall with two total live fish at the scale weighing in at 2.11 pounds. A third fish missed the length requirement for keepers by just an eighth of an inch and had to be released. The team now moves on to the IHSA Sectional Tournament this Friday, April 20, at Wolf Lake. Great job, men, and best of luck in the Sectionals!
On Saturday, March 10, the Brother Rice bass fishing team traveled out to the Bass Pro Shops store in Bolingbrook, Illinois, to attend the Bass Pro Shops Annual Spring Fishing Classic Event. Team members were able to participate in special sales, product demonstrations, seminars, and discussions with professional bass fishermen.
While there, Brother Rice anglers helped staff the “kids fishing pond” where live fish are caught and released by young children who visit the store with their parents. Chicago radio personality Chauncey Niziol, the host of ESPN Chicago Radio Show “Chauncey’s Great Outdoors” was hosting the fishing pond for the day and was very appreciative of Brother Rice Team members volunteering to help out with the large crowds of families and kids who showed up for the event. Team members helped organize the kids, bait hooks, untangle lines, take off fish, and teach the youngsters techniques to get the fish to bite. Many of the kids had never fished before, and it was great to see their excitement, whether they caught a fish or not. Brother Rice bass fishing team members helped introduce the young kids to the sport of fishing and created some special memories for them that they will not soon forget. Good job men!
The Brother Rice Bass Fishing Team is about to begin an action-packed spring season of competitive tournament bass fishing. Led by head coach Ted Lowery ‘73, the team has been preparing their gear and attending bi-weekly training meetings, seminars, and skills development events all winter long. Early spring field training events are also scheduled.
This year’s team consists of the strongest and most experienced anglers we have seen since the team was formed in 2009. Returning senior and four-year founding member Luke Opoka is joined by a potent field of experienced anglers in juniors Bryan Lee, Jim Ciurej, Matt Caufield, Steve Kamer, Joe Leitelt, Nick Stimac, Pat Kirwan, Ian Swanberg, and Mike Slakis, as well as sophomores Brendan Moriarity, Joe Hayes, and Andrius Paltanavicius. The team is rounded out by freshmen Tom Przeckwas, Pat West, Kevin Lionberg, Adan Magnan, Rob Abrham, Nick Taylor, and Ian Reed.
This year’s season kicks off with the Andrew High School District 230 Spring Showdown Tournament on the DesPlaines River at Channahon, Illinois on April 14. Last year, Brother Rice anglers took second place in this tournament, missing first place by just a few ounces in total fish weight. The team then competes in the IHSA Sectional Tournament on April 20th on Wolf Lake. The top three teams of this Sectional will advance to the IHSA State Championship Tournament May 4th on Carlisle Lake in southern Illinois. To date, 222 schools are entered in the IHSA State Sectional Tournaments across 19 Illinois lakes. The Wolf Lake Sectional has 12 schools and will pit Brother Rice against local south side area public and catholic schools rivals.
Following the IHSA State Tournaments, the team will return to the DesPlaines River at Channahon, Illinois, on May 12 to compete in the Andrew High School District 230 Three Rivers Qualifier Tournament. The top finishing teams will return to the DesPlaines River on May 19 to compete in the District 230 Classic Championship Tournament.
All tournament fishing is done on fully-equipped two-man bass boats captained by school coaches. Adult captains are only allowed to operate the boat and net fish. The student anglers must do everything else on their own, including strategy, lure selection, and rod/reel operation. Strict IHSA rules and observers govern each tournament both on and off the water. Each boat has a safety inspection by the Illinois Department of Conservation or other certified inspectors prior to launch at the beginning of each tournament.
Most tournaments begin in the early morning just after daybreak and go until mid-afternoon. Depending on travel distance, the team typically assembles at Brother Rice around 3:00 or 4:00 A.M. to depart for the tournament site. Following fish weigh-ins and trophy presentations, the team usually arrives back at school around 4:00 or 5:00 P.M., making for a long day. Team dads and assistant coaches Jim Opoka and Brian Moriarity help Coach Lowery supervise the team and keep them well fed.
Check out the Brother Rice Bass Fishing Team link on our web site for schedules, rosters, links to bass fishing resources, and pictures of our men in action at: http://athletics.brotherrice.org/athletics/springsports/bass-fishing/