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Patriot anglers qualify for national event

Ryan Foty-Helmer (center) and Grant Loge, of the Pequot Lakes Patriots Fishing Team, talk to announcer Dave Maxfield from the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) about their third-place finish Sunday, June 3, at Moonlite Bay in Crosslake. The pair qualified for the high school world finals later this month in Alabama. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal1 / 2
Seventh-grader Logan Wipper (left) and sixth-grader Konnor King, of the Pine River-Backus Tigers Fishing Team, haul their bass catch up the hill to be weighed Sunday, June 3, at Moonlite Bay in Crosslake. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal2 / 2

High school anglers from Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus joined teams from several other cities and launched their boats on the Whitefish Chain on Sunday, June 3, to take part in the Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Whitefish Chain Open bass fishing tournament.

Nearly 100 two-person teams competed in the event, with the top nine teams qualifying to compete in the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals on June 26-30 on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Alabama.

Pequot Lakes fishermen Ryan Foty-Helmer and Grant Loge qualified with a third place finish. Fellow Patriots Hunter Wendt and Dylan Semmler had previously qualified based on their performance in last year's state tournament.

The top-finishing Pine River-Backus team was junior high anglers Connor Godfrey and Ethan Burns, whose 12-pound-6-ounce livewell would have been good for 21st place. However, the two are not old enough to qualify.

PR-B's Riley Wilson joined up with Grayson Schmidt of Pequot Lakes to take 23rd with a total weight of 12 pounds, 3 ounces, while PR-B's Garrett Wilson joined with Pequot Lakes' Jared Bushman to finish 31st with an even 12 pounds.