“They caught a lot of fish, just not the right species,” Hillsboro Bass Fishing Coach Dennis Loskot said about the Toppers weekend at the IHSA State Tournament at Carlyle Lake on May 21-22.
The tournament didn’t go in the Toppers’ favor as they were one of 11 teams that weren’t able to land a fish at Carlyle, but that didn’t keep them from a good time.
“It was a great weekend at the state tournament. A lot of jokes, laughs and great memories shared,” Coach Loskot said. “These kids fought hard and they came out on top in my eyes. They had the mental fortitude like no other.”
The team, which was made up of Reese Morford, Austin Loskot, Austin Edwards and Elias Gutierrez, with Tim Morford the Toppers’ coach on the shore, were confident coming in, but had to change things up after being shut out on day one.
“They stuck with a game plan and when that didn’t go as planned they accepted that and tried other avenues of approach to try and catch the fish they needed,” Loskot said. “They never gave up and kept pushing forward always thinking of how to catch fish.”
Only eight teams would catch their five-fish limit on day one of the tournament, with eight more snagging five on day two. Only four teams caught the limit on both days, one of which was Moline, who won the event with a total weight of 20 and 3/16ths pounds.
Christopher, who was the day one leader with a five-catch weight of 12 and 13/16ths pounds, was second with 19 pounds, while Antioch was third with 16 and 9/16ths pounds. Christopher’s Kye Garver landed the big bass on day one at five and 1/16th pounds.
The biggest bass of the tournament went to Gunner Kibort of Bradley-Bourbonnais with a six and 3/16ths pound catch.
With 18 anglers on this year’s team, none of which were seniors, all the trip to state did was make the Toppers hungrier for success in 2022.
“We will be back to win state. So look out Illinois, the Hiltoppers are on the prowl for their victory,” said Loskot, who also invited anyone who would like to join the club to seek out one of the coaches or club members. “Thank you boys for a great time and we will fish on this summer.”