UVU Bass Team To Be Featured On National NBC Sports Broadcast
November 1, 2012
For Immediate Release
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Matt Reichman (801) 863-6808
Just shy of its one-year anniversary, the Utah Valley University Bass Team is already making a name for itself among the country’s top anglers. In early September, the fishing club competed in, and helped host, the FLW National Guard College Fishing Series Western Regional Championship, coverage from which is set to broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Nov. 4.
As the host team — not to mention the rising stars of the fishing circuit — the UVU crew figures to feature prominently in the “FLW Outdoors” program, which airs 11 a.m.-noon MT. It wraps up an unprecedented debut year that saw first-place finishes for UVU in two of the four FLW tournaments. No team has ever bagged two in one year, much less in its rookie season.
Club advisor Clinton Martinez, a full-time academic advisor with UVU’s Woodbury School of Business, hopes the UVU community makes the effort to watch the anglers represent their school in a unique way: “The show is actually focused on our school,” he said. “It’s a really big deal for UVU to get that kind of exposure on a worldwide level.”
It’s been a succession of small miracles that brought the club to this point, Martinez said. In the fall of last year he happened to be watching a college fishing tournament with his sons — he didn’t know such a thing existed — and got the idea to form the club. By November, he and six founding members were on the water. By April, the team had notched victories at Clear Lake, Calif., and Lake Havasu, Ariz. The tournament format features two-man teams that submit their five heaviest catches, and in both cases, the winning duo was the UVU backup team that moved up the waitlist at the eleventh hour.
“Our fellow competitors were flabbergasted,” Martinez said, noting that the $5,000 purses from each tournament were desperately needed to keep the club afloat. “We put our names on the map.”
And little did they know, all this was happening at the same time FLW was considering Utah Lake as a venue for the regional tournament, for which club president Aaron Warner and vice president Russ Behlings had just qualified.
“It was definitely a shock,” Behlings, a senior emergency service administration student, said of the win at Havasu. “Everybody else went in a totally different area to fish. We only saw one other team the whole day. It didn’t really hit us until we were standing at the weigh-in.”
Warner, who won at Havasu with Behlings and again at Clear Lake with club member Zach Taylor, said a lot of people figured they just got lucky on the first one — which any fisherman has to admit is part of it, he said — but after the second, they started saying, ‘Wow, this club can fish.’ The Lindon, Utah, native, who is studying exercise science, was thrilled about the opportunity to represent his state and his school at the September regionals. It did throw him off a bit, however, to have a camera crew watching his line alongside him.
“First, you’ve got pressure because it’s your home lake,” Warner said. “And usually, it’s just me and one other guy in the boat. At regionals, there were cameras everywhere, and we were interviewed all the time; being asked what we were going to do. It felt more intense.”
“We weren’t shooting the breeze like we would have,” added Behlings.
To see how the two fared, viewers can tune in to NBC Sports on Nov. 4, 11 a.m. MT.
Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah and is home to more than 30,000 students. UVU began as a vocational school during World War II, and in the seven decades since has evolved into a technical school, community school, state college and, finally a comprehensive regional teaching university. UVU is one of Utah’s largest institutions of higher learning and offers programs ranging from career training to high-demand master degrees, with emphasis on undergraduate education.