Lafayette Christian anglers named to all-state team

Published 10:40 pm Friday, April 21, 2023

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The Lafayette Christian bass fishing team is one of the premium programs in the GAPPS/GIAA classification. The team won back-to-back state tiles in the first two years of existence and in this, their third year, the Cougars finished as state runners-up. 

“We fished in six tournaments as a team this year,” coach Trinity Pike said. “We went all throughout the state, and we are trying to get it more like GHSA. This was the first time we had that many, in the past we just had three. It’s growing fast.”

The strong finish meant that two sets of Lafayette Christian team were named to the inaugural All-State team. Garrett Cromer and Cody Batastini were the more seasoned duo despite this being their first years as partners but Abigayle Trimeloni and James Dean Norred really turned heads this year as this was both of their first years being a part of the team.

“This has really helped change my attitude towards things,” Trimeloni said. “If you go out there on the water and aren’t catching anything and have a bad attitude about it, it is going to bring everybody around you down too.”

Trimeloni and Norred look like they would make for an odd pair on paper with Trimeloni being a high school senior and Norred just a seventh grader. The contrast worked in their favor as they approached fishing in a different manner.

“I am talking his ear off the whole time,” Trimeloni said laughing. “He is over there quiet and focused, and I just can’t stay quiet.”

Norred was under the impression that he would be partnering up with a boy of a similar age this season but when their first partnerships did not work out, the two were paired together and formed a partnership that would prove to be one of the best in the state. 

“We had a really good second tournament especially because it was only our second time fishing together,” Norred said. “The first one we didn’t catch anything, but we were able to get a lot of fish in the second one.”

Cromer and Batstini had their fair share of challenges this season as well. Cromer was paired with Batstini’s brother, Paul, last season, but an injury to Paul left him unable to complete this season. Cromer and the younger Batistini quickly forged a relationship that would help them compete at the highest of levels.

“We love being out in God’s creation, and we have a lot of fun together,” Batistini said. “We are constantly cracking jokes and having fun on the boat.”

Like all sports and frankly, life in general, there are highs and lows when it comes to competitive bass fishing. When it comes to the lows, it can get really low.

“At the state tournament this year conditions changed overnight,” Pike said.”We were able to catch fish like crazy the day before and the next day we had 20 mile per hour winds, and there were white caps on the lake.”

“That was a tough day of fishing and it wasn’t just for us, it was tough for everybody,” Cromer said. “Everybody was catching the day before. Those days where you don’t catch anything are really tough.”

While these two were the star partnerships for the program this year, they were far from alone in getting the program to a state runner-up finish. The duos of Isabel Matheny and Tucker Haynes, Tori Kritko and Carlyanne Knight, and Ella Matheny and Korah Pike. These three partnerships were just as important as the other two as they have helped keep the standards high for the team.

In an interesting development, this was the first year that the team had more girls than boys on the team.

Most of the anglers on the team are regularly near the water with a rod and reel in hand, which helps the team prepare for tournaments year around.

“I fish pretty much every weekend,” Cromer said. “I was gone 48 weekends out of the year at a tournament fishing, and those other four weekends I was probably on a beach fishing.”