SAN ANTONIO, TX -- With over four months of the Cabela's School of the Year Race in the books, the Texas A&M fishing team has seized control of the Cabela's School of the Year rankings, with Nicholls State University and Northwestern State University following close behind in the race for the most prestigious title in college fishing.
After 12 collegiate fishing events sanctioned for Cabela's School of the Year Points, the current No. 1 ranked Texas A&M Fishing team has accumulated 197 points, followed by 188 points earned by the No. 2 ranked Nicholls State Bass Fishing Team, and 167 points grossed by the No. 3 ranked Northwestern State Bass Fishing Team.
Josh Bensema, Texas A&M University Junior and Texas A&M Fishing Team Vice President has been very pleased with the team's efforts this season that have catapulted the team into first place.
"It definitely feels pretty good to be in the lead out of all these schools in the Cabela's School of the Year Race and I know it's gotten very competitive in the past few years," said Bensema. "Being on top of the leaderboard is definitely one of our top goals. A main goal we also want to accomplish is to get the club noticed and draw more attention from our finishes to get some notoriety among the school and to help recruit guys to come to A&M to be part of the team in the future."
When asked about what has been a key to the team's success thus far in the season, Bensema stated that "Spending more time on the water is key. In the past years, we never got much practice time, but this year we've been able to take some time off and get some practice time in on the water. We want to be more competitive as a team and it helps that the club works together."
As many teams have found out over the years, in order to be competitive in the Cabela's School of the Year race, teams must work together and share the same mind set in order to accomplish their goals, which has been evident in Texas A&M's success so far in the 2016 Cabela's School of the Year race.
"We're all pretty close between the team. We share information at tournaments and point guys in the right direction to help everyone get a higher finish at each event. This year we've been able to send a few teams to each event and sharing information to help the team has been pretty beneficial," said Bensema.
"I think the biggest factor in getting us to the lead has been confidence," added Bensema. "After our B.A.S.S. Championship win over the summer, even guys that weren't part of the championship team, have gotten confidence in the team, and in their skills, which has really helped us so far this season and we look to keep that momentum going."
Looking forward, Bensema and the rest of the Texas A&M Fishing Team plan on competing in more collegiate fishing events, including the 2016 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship Presented by Cabela's.
"Our main goal each year is to send a team to each of the collegiate national championships," stated Bensema." I have been planning on attending the BoatUS Collegiate National Championship this past year and due to boat issues, I wasn't able to attend, but it is a goal of our team to send at least one team to the BoatUS Championship this year. Due to our club getting some publicity over the summer from our championship win, we've gotten more members which now means that we can send more teams to more events throughout the year."
"I know a Texas team has never won the Cabela's School of the Year Title and it'd be awesome to bring the title to Texas. The sport of bass fishing is huge in Texas and to bring the title to Texas would definitely be something special for the club," added Bensema.
The remaining Top Ten in the current Cabela's School of the Year Rankings are as follows:
4. Winona State University (Rochester, MN) - 159
5. University of Dubuque (Dubuque, IA) - 149
6. Louisiana State University - Shreveport (Shreveport, LA) - 147
7. University of Wisconsin (Whitewater, WI) - 143
8. University of Louisiana - Monroe (Monroe, LA) - 137
9. University of Wisconsin (Platteville, WI) - 131
10. Dallas Baptist University (Dallas, TX) - 131