PPMS student places at fishing tourney

PELHAM – Pelham Park Middle School eighth-grader Braxton Hopper placed second overall in the Alabama Student Angler Bass Fishing Association’s King of the Coosa Tournament Trail, beating out more than 300 other participants in the region.

Braxton is a member of the Pelham High School fishing team, which is comprised of seventh through 12th graders. PHS math teacher Keri Ross, who sponsors the team along with science teacher Chris Cotter, said there are eight students on the team.

The competition consisted of four tournaments held at four different lakes – Lay Lake, Lake Mitchell, Neely Henry and Logan Martin – beginning in September 2017 and ending in December 2017.

Points were awarded to participants based on how well they fished at each tournament. Each participant’s lowest score was dropped and the winners were named based on their best three performances. Shelby County High School student Ethan King won first place at the tournament.

Braxton got his start as a fisherman with his father when he was about 5 years old. The pair began competing in parent and child bass fishing tournaments when Braxton was 8 years old.

“I was really excited and happy to place in the tournament,” Braxton Hopper said. “I really wanted to win but it didn’t work out that way. But I’m going to try for first place next year.”

Although Braxton didn’t win the tourney, his father Jay Hopper said placing second is still a big accomplishment, and Ross agreed.

“The fact that he did so well and was that consistent at his age is really impressive,” Jay Hooper said. “I don’t think that happens often. Of course, the older you are the more experience and discipline you have, so that fact that he placed second in a competition with kids who were much older than him is something to be proud of. He dedicated himself to it and it paid off.”

Ross said she expects Braxton to be “huge compenent” for the future of the program,” which is in a rebuilding phase. The team was dismantled after the city formed its own school system. After a two-year break, the team back up last school year and is in its rebuilding phase, Ross said.

“Braxton and I are just thankful and honored to be able to represent Pelham,” Jay Hopper said. “It was a great experience.”