Union Democrat staff

After catching a near record-sized bass in April, Chico State sophomore and Summerville graduate Chad Sweitzer will try to duplicate that feat next month at the BASS College National Championship.

Sweitzer and his partner Tyler Firebaugh won the two-day Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Western Regional at Lake Shasta in late April on the strength of Sweitzer’s 9-pound, 10-ounce spotted bass. The victory qualified the pair for the college national championship which takes place Aug. 10-12 on Lake Bemidji in Minnesota.

The pair leave for their 4,000-mile round trip to Minnesota on Aug. 5 with their boat in tow. Sweitzer, a business administration major, and Firebaugh have already received support locally including a $500 donation from the Tuolumne County Sheriffs Association and fresh rubber for their journey from Doherty Tires.

They have also received support from major brands in the fishing industry including TNT Baits, Simms, 13 Fishing, Cousins Rods and Tackle Warehouse.

The pair have created a gofundme page at www.gofundme.com/chico-state-bass-national-champ and are nearing the halfway mark to their goal of raising $4,000.

“We are proud to be the only team that qualified to represent the state of California,” Sweitzer said. “We have been humbled by the amount of support from family friends and local organizations.”

If Sweitzer and Firebaugh win the national title, they qualify for the ultimate fishing competition, the prestigious Bassmaster Classic, a three-day event covered by ESPN.