The Polk County High School Bass Team is preparing for its third full season of competition with an expanded roster of anglers.
The team, which began during the 2020-21 school year, competes primarily in the Palmetto Boat Center High School Trail series. Returning to the group this season are Banks Barber and Karsyn Huskey, who will be fishing their third season, and Konner Huskey, who will be starting his second.
The Bass Team is considered a club sport at the high school.
Last season, Barber and Karsyn Huskey often fished alone at tournaments. This year, Polk will have four two-person teams available to compete, with Aaron Morrison joining Barber, the Huskeys competing together and two new teams including Tanner Osborn and Piercen Edwards in one group and Avery Hensley and Daylon Bradley in another.
“This is the largest group we have had to start the season, so it is great to see new kids join the team and having two more boats on the water,” said Chauncey Barber, who coaches the team. “Most of these kids play other sports, so it’s nice seeing them join and want to fish competitively.”
Polk has adjusted its team guidelines and isn’t requiring club members to commit to all six tournaments in order to compete.
“I know it is a huge commitment to do all six, especially having to get up and travel to an Upstate South Carolina lake on a Saturday,” Barber said. ” We compete against some big schools such as Byrnes and Chapman, and those guys bring a bunch of teams.”
Bass fishing has surged in popularity at the college and high school levels in recent years, with some of the high school events that Polk County attends offering scholarship money as a prize.
“Banks got a scholarship as a freshman, and to know you can get the opportunity to gain something tangible to me is a huge benefit,” Barber said. “A lot of small colleges are already offering scholarships to students, and Auburn University is the first Division I college to offer scholarships.”
With the expanded team, Barber and crew are looking for sponsors to help fund new jerseys and caps.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Polk Bass Team can contact Barber at firstname.lastname@example.org.