The Briarwood Christian School Bass Fishing team currently reigns as the three-time national champions. With 18 boys and two girls, the group is comprised of anglers from every grade. On one crisp fall 2020 afternoon at South Oak, Birmingham’s newest community set in the beautiful and secluded rolling hills along highway 41, the fishing team took a few hours to practice before an upcoming tournament. Spending some time observing the team offered great insight into what makes this team, and this program, so special.
“We go to a small school, and we all know each other. Fishing has made us even tighter. We have that really tight bond that I feel like no other team really has.”
– Carson Miller, Senior
Seeing the students work together to prepare their fishing gear and load up the two bass boats and kayaks in the South Oak boat house, you can quickly gain a sense that there is real comradery and genuine friendship among all the students. This closeness was actually felt most when the team members began to reel in some fish – which didn’t take long, of course. Unlike most high school sports teams, where you find clear standouts, with this group, there was nothing that stood out – except their support for one another. From all areas of the lake, they called out congratulations to each other with each catch. And what makes this team unique became abundantly clear: this is a team of champions who champion one another.
“It’s nice to be competitive, but it’s also nice to have everyone looking out for us. On this team, it’s all friendly competition that pushes each of us to be better.”
– Jordan Martens, Junior
Having a trophy case that is quickly running out of shelf space brings with it an expectation of excellence that the team whole-heartedly embraces. Just because it’s fishing, and not a more popular sport that Briarwood is known for, such as football or soccer, doesn’t mean they take less pride in what they are accomplishing. Rising before the sun, studying their craft daily, being meticulous in their preparation and finding new ways to develop their angling skills, are just part of the reason why the Briarwood Bass Fishing Team is quickly gaining recognition around the country as the best in the business.
“It’s special to be on our team because everyone knows who we are. When we go out and fish everyone’s like ‘Oh, that’s Briarwood.’ It’s really cool living up to the legacy that has been set for us.”
– Sadie Stanford, Sophomore