Two-time National Bass Fishing Trail junior national champion Dakota Cantrell signed a scholarship Saturday, July 12 to join the inaugural Campbellsville University co-ed bass fishing team.
Cantrell, a recent graduate of Grundy County High School from Monteagle, is the second signee for the 2014-15 season and the first out of state angler for bass fishing coach Tommy Hall. He joins Austin Moore of Warren East High School in Bowling Green, Ky., as the first two CU signees.
“I’m excited to have Dakota on our first CU fishing team. He is a proven tournament angler, and we share the love of power fishing. I feel his prove abilities will serve the team well,” said Hall.
Cantrell brings 13 years of competitive fishing experience to CU, starting his career at age 5 while fishing tournaments with his dad, Gene. He is a four-time qualifier for the National Bass Fishing Trail Junior Nationals. He placed fourth in 2008 and won the national title and Junior Angler of the Year in 2009 and 2010. From 2008 to 2011, he won NBT tournaments, including three district titles and the national titles on Chikamauga Lake and Lake Eufala.
As a sophomore in 2011, Cantrell helped form the Grundy County High School Yellow Jackets Bass Team. During his time as president of the GCHS team, he won five high school tournaments and he and fishing partner Hank Lowrie were named the 2013 GCHS Bass Team of the Year. Cantrell also represented Grudny County three times in the Student Angler Federation Tennessee High School Fishing State Championships in 2012, 2013 and 2014. He and Lowrie placed seventh as a sophomore/freshman team in 2012 on Nickajack Lake in Kimball, Tenn., and finished tied for eighth in 2013 on Nickajack.
Cantrell’s largest catch of his career was a 9.3-pound bass out of Nickajack. He has received the big fish award at several tournaments, including a 6.75-pound largemouth as part of a 40.17-pound bag at the 2009 NBT Junior National Championship.
Cantrell is the first Grundy County High School angler to sign a collegiate bass fishing scholarship.
“Dakota’s one of the toughest competitors on the water I’ve ever been around. He’s very serious about fishing and winning. He’s as good as anybody out there and proves that by winning the NBT Junior National Championship two years in a row,” said David Lowrie, Grundy County’s coach. “I’m going to miss having him in my boat, but I can’t wait to see him make a name for himself on the college trail.”
In addition to fishing, Cantrell was also a four-year member of the GCHS football team’s offensive line and was involved in the school’s Athletes Working for Jesus program.
For football, he was named a 2014 Preseason Academic All-American, was named player of the week twice as the Yellow Jackets’ starting center and helped GCHS to the playoffs four straight years. During his tenure, GCHS went undefeated at home for the first time and had a program-best 11-game win streak.
Campbellsville’s co-ed bass fishing team will be the university’s twenty-sixth sports team when competition begins in the fall of 2014. CU is the first university in Kentucky to offer athletic department scholarships for collegiate bass fishing and one of the few nationwide.
The Tigers will schedule tournaments in all three collegiate fishing series: the Association of Collegiate Anglers’ Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Series, the Carhart Bassmaster College Series and the FLW College Fishing Series.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information on the university is Campbellsville.edu.