One ND State High School Tournament Is ON, But Here’s The Catch
North Dakota High School sports this Spring have all been cancelled, except one. The 3rd annual North Dakota High School Fishing Student Angler Federation will hold it's state tournament at Nelson Lake this Sunday, May 10th. The tournament was originally scheduled for this Saturday, May 9th but has been moved to Sunday due to inclement weather expected across the state tomorrow.
According to Heather Bullinger from the High School Fishing Student Angler Federation there will be as many as 8 schools represented from across the state. Bismarck High will have a team and so will Bismarck Century. Hunter Acker and Carsyn Sebastian who play hockey for the Demons will represent BHS. Brandon & Logan Bullinger will represent CHS.
The winning team will advance to the National Championship to be held in La Crosse, Wisconsin June 23rd-27th, where they will compete for a $10,000 scholarship to use at the university of their choice. The World Finals happens at the same time and all SAF members are invited to participate in that and prizes are given away in that pool too.
So how do you win the North Dakota state tournament? Each team will have 3 persons according to federal guidelines: A boat captain and 2 student anglers. 1 angler needs to be in grade 9-12 and the other can be in grade 7-12. The boat captain cannot fish. The team with the 5 longest bass wins. The tournament will be using the "Fish Donkey App" which is great for social distancing. All of the fish will be released right away and not kept in live wells.
Social distancing guidelines will be in place. The mandatory rules meeting is being held on a Zoom meeting. Anglers will need to stay 6 feet apart at the launch and awards ceremony and must wear masks or gaiter at weigh-in. There was no entry fee for this tournament, so the ND High School Fishing Student Angler Federation was not required to have a tournament permit.
Boat captains are often times a parent or grandparent, but there are also volunteers who donate their time, boat and gas so these students can participate.
Normally the weigh in and awards ceremony would be open to the public, but because of COVID-19 It is NOT. Only student anglers, captains and immediate family are allowed. (There will be no weigh in because of the Fish Donkey App)
Bullinger added they are really trying to grow the sport in the state and hope to add this to the NDHSAA in the future. They are hoping that each high school can be represented by at least one team in the future. They are also looking for businesses or organizations who would be willing to donate prizes and giveaways for these student angler participants in the future.