Eyes on the prize

RCHS national qualifers Blake Wheat, Andon Goins, Mason Caldwell, Ben Hester, Tanner McClain and Garrett White are pictured above after arriving in Kentucky for this week's High School Fishing National Championship. This is fourth straight year Rhea County will have at least one team in the annual tournament.  (Submitted Photo)

Rhea County High School’s appearance at this week’s High School National Championships on Kentucky Lake will be the fourth straight for head coach Brian Derlak’s program.

The junior championship kicked off on Tuesday, Aug. 6 and is slated to wrap up on Wednesday, Aug. 7. The High School series National Championship runs Aug. 8-10 on the massive Kentucky Lake.

Making the trip to represent the Green and Gold while pursuing a national championship includes Garrett White/Tanner McClain; Andon Goins/ Blake Wheat; and Ben Hester/Mason Caldwell.

Rhea County Golden Eagle Anglers Garrett White and Tanner McClain had an incredible finish to their day on Lake Guntersville on Saturday, March 30, 2019 to place 28th out of 291 boats and qualify for the 2019 Bassmaster High School National Championship on Kentucky Lake.

Rising Rhea County High School freshmen anglers Andon Goins and Blake Wheat took home first place honors at the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Wild Card tournament in Kentucky on June 12.

The tournament was held on Lake Cumberland, and Goins and Wheat won the event by nearly four pounds, catching a total of 18-pounds, 3-ounces.

Officials for Bassmaster said that the angler team was able to qualify for the event because of rules that allow incoming freshmen to compete during the summer before they start high school.Hester and Caldwell also qualified for Nationals during the Wild Card tourney in Kentucky earlier this summer where they finished 10th overall.

“It is extremely exciting to have Rhea County High School represented by three of our teams this year,” coach Derlak said. “We would also like to thank all of our great sponsors, Rhea County School System, boat captains, parents, family members and fans of the Rhea County Eagle Anglers.”