The Crusader bass fishing team continued their winning streak Saturday, May 19, by capturing the District 230 Classic Championship held on the DesPlaines River in Channahon, Illinois. They also captured the Angler of the Year Award for earning the highest accumulated points for all top tournament finishers combined. The Classic Championship pit the top finishing teams from all of the District 230 tournaments this season.
Senior Luke Opoka, junior Bryan Lee, and sophomores Joe Hayes and Brendan Moriarty represented Brother Rice exceptionally well. The morning was bright and sunny with rising temperatures that would eventually peak in the mid-nineties. Opoka and Hayes took advantage of the early morning bite by adding two keeper fish to the live well with their first few casts. By the half-way point crew change, the pair had netted five keeper bass in the live well and released dozens of smaller fish. They were on the fish hot and heavy, and the action was fast and furious.
Lee and Moriarty continued their hot streak and culled three additional fish to add to the live well total. Along with Brother Rice, only two other teams out of the 15 participating were able to land the limit of five keeper bass for weigh in on this hot and sunny day. Crusader anglers weighed in five live fish for a total weight of just under nine pounds, beating the next closest team by just three ounces. Sophomore Joe Hayes also took home the big bass of the tournament award with a healthy largemouth of just under three pounds. This was Hayes second big bass award for the season. It was a great way to highlight senior Luke Opoka’s fishing career at Brother Rice. Luke is the last of the original bass team founding members and the schools only four year member right now.
This win concludes an outstanding year for the Crusader bass team, who added five new trophies to their team display case, including a coveted state sectional win. The team finished first in the District 230 Spring Showdown on April 14; captured the IHSA State Sectional Championship on April 20; finished in third place at the District 230 Three Rivers Qualifier on May 12; and concluded the season by winning the District 230 Classic Championship on May 19, which also included a trophy for Angler of the Year for having the most total points earned for all tournaments combined. The Crusaders also had a very strong showing at the IHSA State Championship at Lake Carlyle on May 4-5, making the stage on both days with limits of keeper bass.
The skill and professionalism demonstrated by the team certainly made its mark this year in competitive high school tournament bass fishing. The potent field of junior, sophomore, and freshmen members assures that the Brother Rice bass team will be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come. Head coach Ted Lowery’73, team manager Jim Opoka, and assistant coach Brian Moriarty congratulate all the members of the team for an outstanding season. Great job, men!
The championship trophy and sectional championship plaque, along with the other trophies and awards, were placed in the bass team trophy case – stop by and see it! Pictures of our Crusader bass anglers in action can be found on the Brother Rice website.