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Western Carolina University Earns College Series Eastern Regional Win

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Alex Frazier (left) and Austin Neary of Western Carolina University weighed in a three-day total of 42 pounds, 6 ounces to take home the trophy Saturday during the 2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Eastern Regional presented by Bass Pro Shops held on Lake Norman out of Charlotte, N.C.

Photo by Shaye Baker/Bassmaster

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March 28, 2015

Western Carolina University Earns College Series Eastern Regional Win

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Three patterns helped Western Carolina University prevail despite adverse weather conditions and a competitive field in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Eastern Regional presented by Bass Pro Shops. Austin Neary and Alex Frazier targeted spawning fish while also fishing nearby docks and rocks with dropshots and jerkbaits to bring in a three-day total of 42 pounds, 6 ounces and take the Eastern Regional title.

“All of our areas setup up for all three patterns,” Neary said. “It would be like a windy marina, so we could drop shot and jerkbait and then catch spawners off bed.”

As practice for the Eastern Regional came to a close, fish flooded the banks in an attempt to find a mate and make a bed to spawn. The first day of competition on Thursday saw partly cloudy skies and warm temperatures and the spawn and dock bite were on. The second day, Friday, brought a nasty cold front to the area and the jerkbait bite picked up with a few spawners still being picked off. Then on the final day Saturday the temperatures dropped to the 30s, and it took all three patterns for Western Carolina to pull off the win.

After B.A.S.S. College Tournament Manager Hank Weldon noted the excitement that Neary exhibited when coming to the stage and mentioned Frazier must be the calmer of the two, Frazier stated, “I could probably run through a brick wall right now.”

The excitement was evident from both Neary and Frazier as the two took the Eastern Regional in Frazier’s first at bat and what would have been Neary’s final college event had they not qualified for the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship with their win.

“Financially, I had already decided I wouldn’t be able to make it to the Wild Card, so this was it for me,” Neary said of the June event that will qualify more college teams for the National Championship.

Bother and sister Chelsey and Kristopher Queen of Bethel University finished second in the event, bringing in 40 pounds, 11 ounces over the course of three days.

“I’m excited we’re going to the National Championship,” Chelsey said. “I hate we lost out to these guys, but I want to congratulate them. But I guarantee you nobody had more fun than we did out on the water”

The Queens are the first brother-sister team to ever qualify for the National Championship.

Finishing third and also qualifying for the National Championship were Day 2 leaders from Appalachian State University, Kelly Johnson and Jeremy Gilley, who brought in 39-14 for three days.

The remainder of the Top 17 teams from the Eastern Regional will also move on to the National Championship to be held later this summer on a body of water to be announced within the next few weeks.

The Livingston Lures Leader award at the Eastern Regional went to Appalachian State University’s Johnson and Gilley for leading on Day 2.

Cole Blythe’s 6-pound, 10-ounce big bass from Day 1 earning University of North Carolina-Charlotte the Carhartt Big Bass honors for the event.

UNCC’s Blythe and John Auten also won the Bass Pro Nitro Big Bag award for the event with their Day 1 single-day weight of 16 pounds, 12 ounces.

For a complete list of National Championship qualifiers, or for more pictures, stories and video from the Eastern Regional, please visit Bassmaster.com.

2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Title Sponsor: Carhartt

2015 Bass Bassmaster College Series Presenting Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops

2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Berkley, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Supporting Partners: A.R.E. Accessories, Costa, Dick Cepek Tires, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano

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