Lee University hosting 106th North America National Championship Tournament

Lee University hosting 106th North America National Championship Tournament

July 31st, 2014 by Ron Bush in Sports - Outdoors

Ben Friberg paddles upstream on his stand up paddleboard on the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga. Friberg is competing in a 1,000-mile race on the Yukon River in Canada.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Lee University is hooking up with casting crowns.

And making history at that.

The American Casting Association for anglers is holding its 106th North America National Championship Tournament next week in McDonald, Tenn., and the Christian school in nearby Cleveland is the official host - through its Campus Recreation department and the Lee University Anglers Fishing Club.

According to a release Lee sent out Wednesday, the first 105 ACA North America tournaments were held elsewhere besides the Southeastern United States.

The competition encompasses both distance and accuracy for fly- and bait-casting and is set for Tuesday and Wednesday at the Bendabout Farm polo fields and next Thursday through Saturday at Pryor Lake, which has been known primarily for water skiing. Both venues are in McDonald, between Cleveland and Ooltewah, and spectators are welcome. There is no admission charge.

"We are honored to host this prestigious and historical event for the first time in the Southeast," said Dr. Guy DeLoach, a Lee business professor and president of Southern Brothers Anglers, which is a partner in the venture.

"We will not only welcome some of the world's greatest casters, but we will also welcome a new generation of competitors - and, in the end, crown new champions and continue to build the great sports of fly and bass fishing."

To register for the tournament, see www.americancastingassoc.org. For more information, visit www.flyfishermanguide.com or email gdeloach@leeuniversity.edu.

Team USA dominant

Mason Sims from Chickamauga, Ga., and his Team USA teammates are one day away from the world youth fly-fishing championship in Nowy Sacz, Poland. The team has led after all three sessions so far, and all five U.S. competitors are in the top 10 individually.

Gabriel Wittosch and Cam Chioffi from Team USA are first and second, Hunter Enloe and Hunter Hoffler are sixth and seventh and Sims is 10th after winning his sector on the Upper Dunajec River on Wednesday. The Gordon Lee High School student was second overall in the five sectors Wednesday on different waterways, with Chioffi and Wittosch third and fourth.

The competition concludes with two sessions today, but the U.S. team has 103,000 total points to 80,700 for Poland and 70,640 for third-place Czech Republic in the eight-country event. The U.S. has caught 147 fish, 31 more than the host nation.

Friberg getting there

Chattanooga's Ben Friberg and his Be Water My Friend "buddied solo" partner, Kimberley Sutton of Wilmington, N.C., are the first stand up paddleboard competitors ever in the Yukon 1000 Canoe and Kayak Race, and they have been making their way through the 1,000-mile event that began on July 21 in Whitehorse, Canada.

As Friberg explained to Get Out Chattanooga magazine reporter Sunny Montgomery before setting out, an SUP is a solo craft but the team members must stay together on the water. As of Wednesday, six canoe and kayak tandems had finished the course and Sutton and Friberg were in eighth and ninth place.

Four of the first five finishers were kayak duos, led by Ian Huntsman and Wendy Riach as The Kiwis in six days plus 3 hours, 47 minutes, 11 seconds. The runners-up also finished on the seventh day, and the next three teams finished on the eighth. Another finished Wednesday.

Everyone is required to be out of the water and camping for at least six hours every night.

Contact Ron Bush at rbush@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6291.