Mississippi herring claims the overall title at the 2022 Bassmaster High School Combine

Alex Standerfer of New London, Wisconsin (accuracy casting), Philip Hering of Richton, Missouri (technical and overall challenge) and Nathan Preston of Newnan, GA (Casting Distance) received awards in the 2022 Abu Garcia Bassmaster high school group presented by Skeeter.

Kyle Jesse / Bass Photos

September 19, 2022

Mississippi herring claims the overall title at the 2022 Bassmaster High School Combine

DECATUR, Ala. – Talented high school anglers from across the United States gathered at the second edition of Abu Garcia Basmaster High School presented by Skeeter at Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala. , to spend the weekend combining skill challenges and recruiting visits in hopes of getting into college hunting shows. After three challenges – casting distance, casting accuracy and technique – the overall group points winner was Philip Herring of Richton, Miss..

With a total of 288 points, Green County Senior High School narrowly beat Bryce DeStefano of Denham Springs, La. , by four points. In three total challenges, Herring did not finish 10th out of 98 Hunters.

Herring was surprised to receive the High School Combine’s highest honor honor.

“It feels great,” Hering said. “I came to expect to have the opportunity to speak to a few colleges and maybe even get a couple of campus visits, but I really had no expectations for the competition part of this event.

Herring, who attended the gathering alongside teammate Calup Williams, qualified for three consecutive national championships for Abu Garcia Bassmaster High School presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors. The duo also fished together in the 2019 Bassmaster Junior Series National Championship, where they finished seventh.

In addition to winning the overall award, the southern Mississippi native also took home the first place award in the Technical Challenge. The Technical Challenge tested each angler’s ability to maneuver the Skeeter FXR20 bass boat around an obstacle and make precise three throws to the floating targets.

Herring passed the technical challenge in just 42 seconds to take home his second piece of gear.

“I raised the trolling motor to the top and started shooting at the target while I was going around the obstacle and actually hit one target before going around it; then I hit the last two targets with my first two,” Hering said when asked about his strategy.

Herring adopted his hunting strengths of flop and promoted his success in the technical challenge as well as the precision casting challenge, finishing fifth.

“We fish a lot of shallow tidal rivers, so we are bobbing, tossing and making little short laps all the time, which helped a lot,” he said.

Herring looks forward to the campus visits and final college decision.

“This event helped me a lot,” he said. “I had an idea of ​​five to seven schools I was interested in, but this event helped me narrow it down to about three. This combination is really great overall; meeting all these other Hunters and talking to the coaches is amazing.”

In just 35 seconds Alex Standerfer of New London, Wisconsin managed to hit every target with Abu Garcia’s rod and reel combo to take home the first place award in Casting Accuracy.

“I didn’t really have a strategy to go into this event,” said Standerfer. “Coming from the backdrop of a river, hunting around for wood and getting bait in places other people can’t is a strategy in and of itself, so this was definitely my forte.”

In addition to winning the Accuracy Casting Challenge, Standerfer finished eighth in the overall standings.

With a burgeoning 65-yard line-up, Nathan Preston of Newnan, Ga. 1st place in the casting distance challenge. Using an Abu Garcia xenon reel paired with an Abu Garcia winch rod, Preston threw the Berkley Cane Walker Topwater just inches off runner-up Cambre Webb of Clinton, Los Angeles, who played 64.9 yards.

“I took the risk by stopping my breaks completely, relieving my buffering tension along the way, and just prayed I didn’t have a backlash,” Preston said. “Out of three reps, I hit backlash twice, but the only time I didn’t, I threw it 65 yards away.”

Preston Lake Lanier is his favorite championship lake, and a regular big surface water throw led to his success in the event.

“We have a lot of school fish on Lake Lanier, so you’ll see them learn and they’ll have to catch the top water and chop it up as much as you can, so I’ve done this before. It was in my comfort zone.”

In addition to the three skill challenges, the Hunters spent part of the weekend with trainers representing 16 schools. After the first day, colleges can select fishermen to “take a second look” at exploring all that anglers have to offer and see if they would be a good fit for their fishing program.

Over the weekend, two fishermen—high school fishing partners Cody Morgan and Brant Langley of Marion County High School in Florida—signed with Southeastern University and Coach Weston Marsh, which will begin competing in the Basmaster College Series championships in 2024.

“There are many amazing benefits to attending SEU, including new facilities and a great scholarship,” Morgan explained. “But it is also important for both of us to be a part of building something here in our state, Florida. We are really excited.”

Only colleges offering bass fishing scholarships are invited to attend. The inaugural High School Combine in 2021 generated more than $2.6 million in scholarship offers.

Decatur Morgan County Tourism hosted the 2022 Abu Garcia Basmaster High School Gala presented by Skeeter.

2022 Abu Garcia Basmaster High School, courtesy of Skeeter Points Totals

casting precision


long team

total points


Philip Hering

Richton, MS 96 100 92 288


Brice Distefano

Denham Springs, Los Angeles 96 91 97 284


Michael as you know

Winter Haven, Florida 90 87 86 263


Barrett Benfield

San Augustine, Texas 90 81 85 256


Samuel Cobb Jr.

Livingston, Los Angeles 85 75 91 251

Tyler Morris

Port Allen, Los Angeles 67 91 89 247


Nathan Preston

Newnan, Georgia 51 94 100 245


Alex Standerver New London, Wisconsin 100 95 49 244


Conor Hebert Irwinville, Los Angeles 99 60 81 240

Sealer Prince

Palatka, Florida 47 98 93 238

Nathan Whitehead

Good job, the 75 81 82 238
12 Zack Knight Gallatin, Tennessee 91 81 63 235


Morales’ fate

French settlement, Los Angeles 79 63 90 232


Luke Salville

Huntsville, AL 76 97 55 228


Jet Stanley

Dover, Florida 90 94 39 223


Camper Web

Clinton, Los Angeles 90 34 99 223
17 Antunes Tracking Henderson, Texas 84 73 58 215
18 Parker Stalfie Green Cove Springs, Florida 62 83 67 212
19 Drew Turnbull Crane Hill, AL 40 91 80 211
20 Avery Budget Elba, AL 98 49 63 210
21 Nicholas de la Porta Pecannock, New Jersey 28 96 83 207
22 Caleb Casson Emory, Texas 71 46 87 204
22 Garrett Cromer Lagrange, Georgia 63 67 74 204
24 Cody Morgan Jacksonville, Florida 51 57 94 202
25 Chase McCarter Sevierville, Tennessee 83 49 67 199

2022 Basmaster High School Main sponsor included: Abu Garcia
2022 Basmaster High School Combine Supporting Sponsor: skeeter
2022 Basmaster High School Combine Partners: Sports + Outdoor Academy, B&W Trailer Hitches

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