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WIU Bass Fishing Team members Joe Reilly, left, and Jackson Grabeel qualified to be one of 73 teams competing in the 2014 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship.
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WIU Bass Fishermen Qualify for National Tournament

May 1, 2014

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MACOMB, IL – A Western Illinois University bass fishing duo has qualified to be one of 73 teams competing in the 2014 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship July 31-Aug. 2 at Chatuge Reservoir in northeast Georgia.

WIU students Jackson Grabeel, a junior, construction management major from Taylor Ridge (IL), and Joe Reilly, a senior, construction management major from Macomb, qualified for the national tournament during the Carhartt Bassmaster College Midwest Regional tournament in late March at Lake of the Ozarks (MO). The top 14 fishing teams from the regional tournament qualified for the national tournament, with the WIU fishermen finishing seventh.

Grabeel said he and Reilly began to get nervous about their placement near the end of the tournament.

"We had to be at the boat ramp by 4 p.m. Saturday, and 3:45 p.m. hit and we still only had two keepers in the live-well," he said. "I told Joe that these were our last casts and we have to get back so we do not get penalized for being late. Sure enough, Joe yells 'fish on.' I grabbed the net and netted the fish and it looked like it was going to be just a little short of the limit. We kept our hopes high while we put the fish on the bump board and the fish measured 15 and one-quarter inches - just over the limit. So we put it in the live-well and made our way to the weigh in. We weighed in at eight pounds, 14 ounces, for a two day total of 23 pounds, three ounces."

The WIU team sent six boats to the Ozarks, including the following WIU teams:
• Caleb Shoemaker, a sophomore, agriculture major, and Sam Wheeler, a senior, physical education major, both from Blandinsville (IL) – finished 30th
• Travis Wilson, a senior, construction management major, and Brian Lafferty, a junior, physical education major, both from LaHarpe (IL) – finished 37th
• Cass Waddle, a sophomore, biology major from Macomb, and Tom Scroppo, a sophomore, construction management major, from New Lenox (IL) – finished 46th
• Richard Rappley, a junior, biology major from Mendota (IL), and Craig Wise, a junior, law enforcement and justice administration major from Oakwood Hills (IL) – finished 54th
• Kyle Vowels, a junior, general studies major from Macomb and Zachary Woodbury, a sophomore, information systems major from Lee (IL) – finished 62nd

Over the weekend, WIU qualified two teams for the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) invitational tournament Sept. 13-14 on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville (KY). Grabeel and Wise placed third and Wilson and Shoemaker placed 15th at the qualification tournament held April 19-20.

For more information on the national tournament, visit

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations