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The LHSAA does not make the decision to add a sport to its framework on a whim. That fact makes the LHSAA’s first foray into bass fishing a compelling event to watch.Seventy-one teams from across the state are scheduled to compete in the LHSAA State Championship, which is a nonsanctioned pilot program, set for Friday and Saturday at Cross Lake in Shreveport.Festivities begin with a welcome event Thursday at Shreveport’s Bass Pro facility. Boats begin competition from one of two docks starting at 7 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The weigh-ins are scheduled for 3 p.m. on both days. Teams with the highest two-day total will claim the championship and runner-up trophies.A special award will be given to the competitor who catches the largest bass at the event which is being orchestrated by Major League Fishing for the LHSAA.“I think this is set up to be a great event,” LHSAA assistant executive director Adam MacDowell said. “Teams will be competing for trophies just like the ones the other teams receive when they win a state title.“The folks with Major League Fishing bring in trucks that are like transformers. They carry a stage and all the equipment for weigh-ins, like the ones you see for the professional events. I am looking forward to watching how it all goes.”Bowling and powerlifting are the only sports the LHSAA has sanctioned in the past 20 years. Powerlifting was the most recent, but previously was conducted by high school coaches without being under the LHSAA umbrella for more than two decades.It is also technically the second year of the LHSAA’s planned two-year pilot program for bass fishing. The coronavirus pandemic shut down all LHSAA sports the week the first regional tournaments were set in 2020.One issue that looms is the 80-school threshold required by LHSAA bylaws in order to add a sport. At 71 schools, bass fishing is just below the number required. The pilot program could be extended and other changes could be made.A poll of member schools indicated that more than 100 were interested in participating in bass fishing before the pilot program was approved in 2019.Several local high school teams also compete in high school competitions sponsored by other professional fishing groups and post their list of winners/top finishers on social media each week. Doyle, Lutcher and Parkview Baptist are the only area teams entered this weekend's LHSAA event.New Orleans area teams include St. Paul’s, Jesuit, John Curtis, Lakeshore and Hahnville. St. Thomas More, Port Barre and North Vermilion are Acadiana area teams.“This is something the (LHSAA) executive committee will discuss at their meeting this summer," MacDowell said. "Are there ways to grow this and add more teams?“One suggestion is that maybe this event should be moved to the fall because there are already so many events in the spring. That may be one option.”
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