There is only one team at Virginia Tech that can boast a National Championship. They have no organized practice time, no scholarships and no official uniform.
Virginia Tech's bass fishing team started out with a handful of members in 2007, and has now tripled in size, won numerous tournaments, and is ranked at the top of several collegiate polls.
Unlike other college sports teams, the anglers pay for their own bait, provide their own boats, and drive their own cars cross-country to tournaments.
"That's the thing about being a college angler. You really don't have a lot of leftover money. There's a lot of zip ties and duct tape," comments Andrew Jackson, one of the VT's bass fishing team members.
While the team has been able to get a few sponsors, a large, national sponsor would offset some of the costs.
"It would be nice to have the club to the point that everything was funded. And that we didn't have to put out as much of our own money," says Pat Snellings.
Virginia Tech has three, two-person teams competing in this week's Northern Conference Championship at Phillpot Lake in Henry county this week (Sept 13-15).
Radford University also has a bass fishing team, with four members participating in the tournament at Philpott Lake. Below is a list of the anglers from Virginia Tech and Radford participating.
- Virginia Tech - Jody White, Shaftsbury, Vt., and David Bryant, Covington, Va.
- Virginia Tech - Carson Reizer, Blacksburg, Va., and Preston Chrisman, Radford, Va.
- Radford University - Blaine Chitwood, Wirtz, Va., and Brett Meyn, Mechanicsville, Va.
- Radford University - Ryan McCarthy, Chantilly, Va., and Steven Jarrells, Radford, Va.
Virginia Tech bass fishing club president Jody White, like others, has taken part in tournament fishing since he was a child.
"At tournaments, it's all about teamwork," says White. "You and your teammate try to compile your five best, and biggest fish to win out."
Winning won't come easy.