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CV duo sixth at state championship angler tournament
Ortiz, Weis turn in respectable showing while representing CV
Central Valley High Schools Ben Ortiz, pictured left, and Brandyn Weis competed at the 2014 Student Angler Federation High School Fishing State Championship Tournament. The Hawks two person-team finished sixth overall with 13 pounds, 13 ounces. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Juniors Ben Ortiz and Brandyn Weis made history while representing Central Valley at the 2014 Student Angler Federation High School Fishing State Championship Tournament.

"It was a new experience," said Mike Reynolds, CV support teacher/club advisor. "We held our own considering it was our first time. There's definitely a lot more added pressure."

The Hawks' two-person team of Ortiz and Weis placed sixth in a field of 28 at the May 18 competition, staged on the California Delta.

"I'm pretty happy with how we did," Ortiz said. "It was really fun. We got to meet a lot of people."

The tournament got underway just after 6 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m.

Ortiz and Weis bagged 13 pounds, 13 ounces.

Vista Del Lago's Luke Johns and Brandon Burkey placed first (23-5).

California Virtual Academy's Danny Birling and Bryan Roland took second (16-10).

Roosevelt High School's Brandon Lum and Marcus Goishi took third (15-15).

Weis hooked a four-pounder with 15 minutes remaining during the competition.

Brandyn used a BuzzFrog lure.

Ben fished with chatter bait.

"We were shooting for first," Ortiz said. "I thought 24 pounds would win it. We had a respectable stack of fish. I was hoping for more."

Added Reynolds: "First place destroyed everyone. They came in with 23 pounds. Anything over 15 pounds is pretty impressive. Some of these kids can outfish adults."

The weigh-in was held at Russo's Marina, Bethel Island.

"I'm not a father but I guess you can compare it to having a baby," Ortiz said. "You're anxious."

Sam Gaede and Nash Madden co-founded the Central Valley High School Bass Fishing Club during the 2012-13 school year. Membership has grown from six to 40-plus anglers.

The Hawks competed for the first time in October of 2013.

Gaede and Ortiz, and Madden and Anthony Bonales partnered up.

Central Valley placed seventh at the Roosevelt High School Open at Pine Flat Lake near Fresno.

"They (Ortiz and Weis) were pretty stoked just to get the opportunity to compete at the state tournament," Reynolds said. "They're the ones that come to the meetings all the time. They're the most-serious fishermen in the club, by far."

"It means a lot to me," Ortiz said. "We're one of the better athletic and academic schools in the area. I've been fishing for a long time. It's a family thing. My grandpa and uncle fished, professionally. I just love the sport. I enjoy being outdoors. Next year, we're going to promote the sport at elementary schools."