The Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops has come to and end, and Josh Bensema and Matthew McArdle will be bringing home the 2015 national championship trophy to Texas A&M University.
The duo tamed the tough Lake DuBay conditions and overcame numerous obstacles on the final day to prove their worth as the champions of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series.
Now that the title is settled the Top 4 teams split up into an eight-angler individual bracket. The prize at stake is a berth into the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro on Grand Lake in Tulsa, Okla. Not to mention, the winning angler will have a year’s entry into the 2016 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens and will earn a fully rigged and wrapped truck-and-boat combo.
Sunday the Top 4 teams will launch on the Wisconsin River Flowage to determine the winner-take-all champion in a head-to-head elimnation style bracket competition.
The teams, split up to fish individually from Nitro Z-8 boats are: Bensema of Texas A&M vs. Andrew Helms of UNC-Charlotte, McArdle of Texas A&M vs. Jake Whitaker of UNC-Charlotte, Trevor Lo of Minnesota vs. Allyson Marcel of Nicholls State, and Chris Burgan of Minnesota vs. Tyler Rivet of Nicholls State.
TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
Hometown: Willis, Texas
Degree: Wildlife and Fisheries
How does it feel to have won the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship? “It’s a dream come true,” Bensema said. “It gives me confidence that I can accomplish my dreams and they aren’t too big to overcome.”
Hometown: Crosby, Texas
Degree: Wildlife and Fisheries
How much has college fishing changed since you fished the championship in 2010? “There were 44 teams, there was no Carhartt yet, and the coverage we have now is just amazing,” McArdle said. “There’s just so much that goes into college fishing now.”
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
Hometown: St. Paul, Minn.
What does it mean to be fishing for a spot in the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic? “It’s surreal, and it hasn’t sunk in yet,” Lo said. “It is very humbling to make the Top 5, and now we get to fish individually in the bracket. The bracket format is intense.”
Hometown: Rhinelander, Wis.
Degree: Communications and Psychology
After watching the Classic Bracket unfold last year, what are your thoughts about getting the chance to compete this year? “Last year I had a few buddies who made it, and I lived vicariously through them.” Burgan said. “Now I get to compete. This format is different than any other, and it’s really cool.”
NICHOLLS STATE UNIVERSITY
Hometown: Raceland, La.
Degree: Petroleum Engineer
Did you imagine having a shot at the Bassmaster Classic while fishing in college? “I never thought we would make it to this day, and it’s a completely different world now,” Rivet said. “I didn’t think that my dreams would come true this quickly.”
Hometown: Houma, La.
You’re the first female to fish the Classic Bracket, what does that mean to you? “The entire championship has been a great experience, and I’ve met a lot of genuine people throughout this week,” Marcel said. “I hope more girls get involved after seeing how this week panned out. This could really open the door for more girls competing in the future.”
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA-CHARLOTTE
Hometown: Fairview, N.C.
Degree: Civil Engineering
This is your second Classic Bracket. What does it mean to be fishing the bracket in back-to-back years? “It’s awesome because how many people can say they have done that?” Whitaker said. “Another shot at the Classic is incredible, and I’m thankful for another opportunity.”
Hometown: Monroe, N.C.
How does it feel to have come so far and be in this position just like last year? “To get here last year was awesome,” Helms said. “I wish we could’ve won it again, but another shot at the bracket is so cool. There is nothing like it.”
Fans can follow all the action on Bassmaster.com. Features like the live weigh-in, live blog, leaderboard, photo galleries, articles, BASScam videos and much more.
Local hosts for the events are the Stevens Point Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Stevens Point Area Central Wisconsin Sports Commission, Tike Beach Bar and Grill, Travel Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Title Sponsor: Carhartt
2015 Bass Bassmaster College Series Presenting Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Supporting Partners: A.R.E. Accessories, Dick Cepek Tires, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano