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Hillcrest Tries To Make Fishing a MSHSAA Sport

BOLIVAR, Mo--18 Hillcrest students compete in a high school fishing club.
BOLIVAR, Mo--Hillcrest is one of the high schools trying to make a new wave in MSHSAA athletics.
I went on the water to get the story of the Hornets Bass Fishing Club.

A peaceful day on the water, just waiting for a quiet line to get a bite. There's nothing quite like it.

"I have a passion for being out in the outdoors. It's just something I love doing," said Hornets fishing member Ashley Ruggles.

18 Hillcrest students get together to compete on their high school fishing club.

"It's a lot of fun. It can get to your mind. And I kind of like anything that you know puts a challenge to you," said Ruggles.

Catching a big fish isn't the only tough task for the club considering they are trying to make fishing a high school sport. There are currently 41 fishing teams in Missouri and they need to catch 50 to be a Missouri sanctioned sport.

"Not every kid plays basketball or football and this is a different sport. This morning I was talking to the students and saying 'hey we will be taking off at 5:15' and I pull up into the parking lot at 5 o'clock and they are standing there waiting on me," said Hornets fishing coach Randy Conlon.

"I don't think I have ever been this big of a fisher, I didn't know as much as I think I know now. I have learned quite a bit since we started the bass club," said Hornets fishing member Tyler Schuck.

"I mean they are working the trolling motors, they are hooking the fish, they are doing all this themselves. The only thing we can assist is we can drive the boat in an actual tournament situation and that is it," said coach Conlon.

And it probably doesn't hurt to have a Central Pro/Am Fisherman as a coach.

"I have been getting text messages saying 'thank you for doing this' and the kids calling me asking me how to rig a bait. It's just cool to see the expressions of their face, there is really nothing like it. I am eating it up, I really am," said Conlon.

So, if I learned anything from this club, it was to hold on to your hat on the boat and there's nothing like getting landing that big fish.

"Oh, it is probably one of the most amazing feelings," said Ruggles.

"We caught one earlier and my heart was just pumping. I was shaky and it was awesome," said Schuck.

This June 7th and 8th the club will compete in the Missouri High School Fishing Championship for a $10,000 scholarship at Table Rock Lake.
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