BY BRYCE PHILLIPS, Elizabethton Star
It can be said that Elizabethton High School student Hunter McClaskey is a pioneer.
The senior Cyclone, who competes for the EHS bass fishing team, became the first student-athlete to sign with King University’s bass fishing program this week.
McClaskey inked his name with King this past Monday inside EHS in front of friends and family.
“It has been a true blessing for me,” said McClaskey. “I have been doing this since I was five. I dropped other sports so I could do this. This really shows that anything can make your education happen. You have to stick with stuff to make it happen.”
McClaskey said that King University would be a great fit and that he plans on studying biology while there.”
“It is a wonderful school,” said McClaskey. “The campus is great, and everyone is nice there. Academically, it is a great school, so this is a great option for me.”
Elizabethton High School started up its bass fishing program one year before McClaskey started attending EHS. McClaskey joined the team when he was a freshman, and from day one, he was hooked.
“It was an instant click,” said McClaskey. “I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I had all of my buddies that I fished with, and this really made my high school experience.”
Over his years fishing for the Cyclones, McClaskey said that one moment really stands out to him.
“I would have to say that my favorite experience was going down to the world championship and fishing in the nationals this summer,” said McClaskey. “With 30 minutes to go, I had to make like an hour-and-a-half run back. Throw up on this dock and hook and 8-2 (an eight-pound, two-ounce fish). It came right into the net. . . It got big fish on the first day of that tournament.”
Each year, the sport of bass fishing grows in popularity, and McClasky said he has seen it first hand as he has watched the number of boats competing in big tournaments grow from around 50 one year to around 200 boats the next year.
“Most people don’t realize how big it has gotten in that past few years,” said McClaskey. “It is probably the biggest growing sport.”
On hand during McClaskey’s signing was King head coach Jason Moorman, who said that the program is hoping to sign fishers from the local area.
“It is very important because this is the hotbed of bass fishing in the nation,” said Moorman. “At the high school, there are so many kids competing and pulling kids from this area is crucial for us.”