Fresno State in the driver’s seat

The top-five team finalists at the 2011 FLW College Fishing Western Regional acknowledge the crowd shortly after weigh-in.

TEMPE, Ariz. - With another day of clear skies, moderate temperatures and light winds serving as backdrop, the top-five FLW College Fishing Western Regional team finalists departed Saguaro Park Marina shortly after 7 a.m. in search of the ultimate prize - a first-place trophy and a cash award of $50,000. However, for all teams not named Fresno State, the task of procuring the FLW College Fishing regional championship title will be nothing short of Herculean. Holding down a 9-pound lead, Fresno State undoubtedly holds the trump card in today's final round of competition. As such, the remaining four team finalists - two Chico State squads, Sacramento State and Cal Poly - will need a massive turnaround just to make the final day of competition competitive. While it can be done, it appears that Fresno State would need to stumble mightily in order for that scenario to transpire. And given the fact that only three teams have come back to the marina with stringers weighing in over 10 pounds for the entire tournament, it's fairly obvious that the real battle will be for second place during today's competition. Currently, team finalists ranked second through fifth are separated by only 1 pound, 1 ounce, further highlighting where the real battle is set to take place. Tourney format and event logistics Five teams will battle it out for a top award of $50,000 in Saturday's competition. The prize money will be split between the school and bass fishing club; $37,500 for the bass club, which includes $12,500 in cash as well as a Ranger 177TR with a 90 horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard wrapped in school colors, and $12,500 for their school. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held outside the Wells Fargo Arena on the Arizona State University campus at 606 East Alpha Drive. The weigh-in will begin at 5 p.m., just prior to the Arizona State-Arizona football game. The weigh-in is free and open to the public. The five schools competing on the final day of Western Regional competition include: California Polytechnic - Scott Hellesen and Damian Bean, both of San Luis Obispo, Calif. Chico State - Bo Harkins, Chico, Calif., and Anthony Dayton, Walnut Creek, Calif. Chico State - Thomas White, Fountain Valley, Calif., and Frank Vogt, Chico, Calif. Fresno State - Christopher Delgado and Kong Moua, both of Fresno, Calif. Sacramento State - Robert Matsuura, Sacramento, Calif., and Thomas Kanemoto, Elk Grove, Calif. The five team finalists from the FLW College Western Regional Championship have already earned a berth into the 2012 FLW College Fishing National Championship, which features a first-place award of $100,000; $25,000 for their school and $50,000 cash and a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90 horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard wrapped in school colors for their fishing club. Once again, Arizona State will be the site of the College Fishing Festival and weigh-in. Students and fishing fans alike will be treated to a Ranger Boat simulator, Sony PS3 Gaming Trailer, tailgate games, a sports zone along with contests for cash and several prize giveaways. Today's festival will take place outside the Wells Fargo Arena located at 606 East Alpha Drive in Tempe from 2:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. College Fishing is free to enter. FLW provides boats and drivers for each competing team along with travel allowances. All participants must be registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university. Bass-fishing fans take note Coverage of the Western Regional Championship will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. "FLW Outdoors," will air Dec. 25 from 1 - 2 p.m. ET. "FLW Outdoors," hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide. Want to watch Saturday's FLW College Fishing Western Regional Championship weigh-in live but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 5 p.m. Mountain time to watch live streaming video and audio of today's weigh in. Vital statistics: Sunrise: 7:03 a.m. Temperature at takeoff: 54 degrees Expected high temperature: 73 degrees Water temperature: 65-67 degrees Wind: From the south at 4-7 mph Humidity: 45 percent Day's outlook: Partly sunny Related links: College Fishing Festival Event schedule

Tags: morning-story 

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