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Montevallo Wins School of the Year Honors

SAN ANTONIO, TX – The 2020-21 season out on the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series came to a historic end last week at Lake Murray in South Carolina. Following the conclusion of weigh-in at Dreher Island State Park last Thursday points totals were calculated, and the standings finalized for this season’s Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia. The final standings revealed several shakeups to be one of the most dramatic reveals of the season as one new team leaped up into the Top 3 and Montevallo’s lead over 2nd place shrank to its slimmest margin in the past several months. When it was all said and done, Montevallo did just enough at Lake Murray to claim the school’s first-ever title as Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia. Back-to-back defending winners McKendree University closed the margin to less than 300 points to finish the season in 2nd, and Adrian College leap-frogged Murray State to earn 3rd place honors. There were also several other moves inside the Top 25 national rankings which can be seen below.
“It was very exciting to see all the hard work finally pay off. This is my 6th season at Montevallo and each year I felt that we were getting closer and closer of reaching that top spot in collegiate bass fishing,” said William Crawford, Head Fishing Coach at the University of Montevallo. “Being this is the first-ever title for the program or the University there has been a lot of excitement around our campus, community, state and even in the fishing community. I am amazed at the amount of support we have received since winning the title.”
Montevallo’s quest for its first-ever School of the Year title was not accomplished without a slight bit of drama. Following Day 1 of competition, the number one ranked team in the nation had two teams inside of the Top 10 and looked poised to build on its 1,000 plus point lead and run away with the title. James Willoughby & Chance Schwartz were in 5th place with 15.37 pounds, and fellow teammates Solomon Glenn & Ryan Thomas occupied 6th at 15.12 pounds.
Day 2 proved not to be as stress-free as Montevallo likely expected following a picture-perfect start on Day 1. ACA camera crew staff covered both the 5th and 6th place teams throughout the morning, and it quickly became evident that those two angler pairings were finding the conditions to be much more difficult. At weigh-in that afternoon, Montevallo’s confidence quickly began to shrink as several of the nation’s other top teams began to place teams inside of the Top 20 of the tournament standings and pushing Montevallo downward in the standings.
Willoughby & Schwartz zeroed on the final day of competition, dropping from 5th place after Day 1 all the way down to 66th overall. Montevallo’s other highest-placing team after Day 1 struggled immensely on the final day as well. The duo of Glenn & Thomas dropped from 6th overall down to 51st after weighing in just 2.75 pounds of bass on Day 2. In just a matter of 24 hours, Montevallo went from having a commanding seven-month run atop the standings, to possibly watching its title hopes to dwindle as college fishing powerhouse McKendree University lurked within striking distance on the final day.

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