By Desmond Ford
The Youngstown State University bass fishing club is in its seventh year and has qualified to compete for nationals in 2020 after qualifying in a two-day event at the Fishing League Worldwide open semifinals on March 13 in Barkley, Kentucky.
Jared Latone, the team president, and Jonathan Creed, finished in sixth place after the event and both are excited for the opportunity to represent YSU at nationals.
Latone, a senior finance major, has been bass fishing since a young age, but didn’t really compete at a high level until the club was started in 2015.
“I have been bass fishing since the age of 10, but only started to get into tournaments once I joined the club,” Latone said.
Latone said he and his partner finished in one of the largest collegiate fishing events on the Kentucky Lake, which is in both Kentucky and Tennessee.
“Day one was very successful,” Latone said. “We ended up weighing in a five-bass limit day one for 23 pounds and 4 ounces. Day two of the event was shortened to four hours due to high winds and dangerous lake conditions. We caught exactly five fish for our limit which weighed 15 pounds and 13 ounces.”
With great success there will always be some challenges that Latone and the club faces when trying to compete with so many other colleges that are fully funded.
“As a club, the largest challenge that we face is that we do not compete like many of the traditional club sports,” Latone said. “We compete on a collegiate level against many schools where bass fishing is considered a fully funded team sport.”
Jonathan Creed, a senior education major, loves bass fishing and can remember when he first started fishing at a high level.
“I have been bass fishing since I was old enough to hold a rod,” Creed said. “I won my first junior bass tournament at five years old.”
He said he was excited for the opportunity to compete at nationals, and believes that with YSU being as small of a club that it is, anything is possible.
“Qualifying for nationals means that our team from YSU has joined a very small group of elite anglers across the country,” Creed said.
Kayli Ezzo, a graduate assistant of club sports and camps, said she is excited for the opportunity the bass fishing team has to compete for nationals.
“Our department is thrilled for their continued dedication and success of course,” Ezzo said. “For the team, it must be incredible to see their hard work materialize in such a tangible way, especially on which impacts future anglers.”
Latone believes this club can go somewhere special in the next upcoming years.
“This club has potential to absolutely skyrocket in the upcoming years,” Latone said. “Our membership already has been increasing significantly every semester.”
For more information visit the club Instagram page at ysubassfishing or contact team president Jared Latone at [email protected].