HICKORY — The Catawba Valley Community College bass fishing program made more history this past week with all of its anglers competing in the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship on Lake Murray in South Carolina.
Lucas Oliver, a 2020 Patton High School graduate, is one of two freshmen on the nationally 16th-ranked CVCC team. He was among the Red Hawk anglers competing their first national tournament appearance.
“I’m excited,” Oliver said prior to the event. “I’m a little nervous because this is one of my biggest tournaments. I’m happy that our whole team gets to go. We have a fun time hanging out together. It’s all about helping each other out, talking to each other and fishing our hearts out.
The potential of winning a national championship was something on the minds of CVCC’s anglers.
“Every time we go out on the water, we strive to win,” Oliver said. “There is a lot of good competition, but we want to be the best. We’re out there practicing every single day — from the first day of practice until the last day of the tournament. We’re out there bright and early until sunset. We’re trying our best. Everyone wants to bring home that trophy. That’s our goal.
“… I’ve heard that it’s a shallow lake. I’m going to use some of my past experience from our tournaments in Florida. We fished a lot of shallow water out there.
Oliver and CVCC teammate Caleb Lonca recently placed 45th out of 200 teams in an event following Oliver and teammate Spencer Black’s tie for 82nd out of 184 teams during the Bassmaster College Series on Smith Lake.
CVCC has already signed three more Burke County student-athletes for next season: Freedom High’s Daniel Brackett, Hunter Keller and Wes Smith.