Northwest has the chance to make some noise on the national scene, and this time it is not for football or basketball.
The Northwest Fishing Club qualified a team for the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship after its performance in the FLW College Fishing Open.
Seniors Adam Almohtadi and Andrew Nordbye finished fourth out of 194 teams at the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open. Almohtadi and Nordbye finished with a total weight of 41 pounds and 14 ounces for the two day tournament.
Nordbye and Almohtadi finished behind teams from the University of Arkansas, the University of Alabama, and the University of Illinois.
Nordbye qualified for the FLW Collegiate Regional Championship last season, but fell short of qualifying for nationals. Nordbye said qualifying this year was a major accomplishment for him.
“It’s huge. It is what every school works at doing. Every school looks to qualify at least one team for nationals every year and most of those schools have a much bigger fishing program than we do,” Nordbye said.
Qualifying for nationals this early in the season will make the rest of the season much easier. Placing in the top ten of the FLW College Fishing Open immediately qualifies teams for nationals. Had Nordbye and Almohtadi not placed in the top ten, they would have had to place top ten in two or three other tournaments in order to qualify.
Nordbye said since they qualified early it will give them more opportunities to prefish the lake where nationals are held.
Not only is this a huge accomplishment for Nordbye and Almohtadi, but for the Northwest Fishing Club as a whole. Only the top 50 teams qualify for nationals each season and the competition will be televised nationally.
Nordbye said the extra exposure could help the Northwest Fishing Club expand in the near future.
“A lot of people are going to be looking to come to Northwest once they realize that we have a fishing team and that we have been to nationals,” Nordbye said. “That is what a lot of high school tournament anglers are looking for in a school.”
Northwest already has a student transferring to be a part of the Northwest Fishing Club. Sophomore Landon Paul is enrolled at Fairmont State University in West Virginia, but is leaving after the school year to come to Northwest.
Paul heard about the fishing club through Tightlines UV owner and Maryville resident Brett Ware. After visiting Northwest’s campus, Paul knew it was where he wanted to finish his college career. Paul says that qualifying a team for nationals will help bring more students like himself to Northwest to fish.
“Qualifying for nationals pretty much says that Northwest has a well established club and that the members of the club take what they do very seriously,” Paul said. “When I come, my goal will be to make nationals and place high.”
Compared to many fishing powerhouses, Northwest is a much smaller school with a much smaller fishing program. Paul said fishers could actually benefit more from the smaller atmosphere as opposed to a larger Division I school.
“You have the opportunity to get a lot more hands-on and you can get to know everyone a lot better,” Paul said. “Instead of there being 500 people, there is only around 10 or 15 so it is a much better team environment.”
The date and location of the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship has yet to be announced.