Club SpotLight – St. Elizabeth High School, Mo.

(St. Elizabeth High School, Mo.
St. Elizabeth High School, Mo.

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St. E (St. Elizabeth High School, Mo.) Anglers Fishing Team

Date club founded:  2018.

Club founders:  Cody Wieberg.  Cody had indicated that participation in traditional sports was not for him, but that he had an interest in fishing.  Cody and his mom, Stacie Wieberg, researched local schools that had fishing teams, Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) rules and guidelines put forth by MUSIC, an insurance company that provides insurance to schools.  They also developed a budget for the club after researching membership fees for the National Youth Fishing Association (NYFA), travel expenses and fuel expenses.  Cody secured a partner in Gerald Luetkemeyer and presented his findings to the St. Elizabeth R-IV School Board.  At the same meeting, the board approved the use of the school’s name by the team.  The school provides no monetary support for the team, which is classified as a club and does not fall under MSHSAA regulations.  They were soon approached by two other students who were eighth-graders at the time and had found out about the team from their parents, who were board members approving the club.  The club now has two teams.

The 2019 Season brought yet another team.  The NYFA opened a Junior High league and this new team competed in that portion of the league.  This team could not have competed without the generosity of School Superintendent Doug Kempker allowing them to use his personal boat for tournaments.  NYFA also started a PTA (Pro Team Association) league in which the boat captain fishes as a member of the team on Saturday.  On Sunday, the boat captain’s role becomes coaching, netting fish and fixing equipment.

The 2020 season promises even more growth with at least the addition of one team, possibly two.

Club affiliations:  NYFA, which is associated with the B.A.S.S. Nation and The Bass Federation Student Angler Federation.

Club advisor and assistant coaches: Stacie Wieberg.  The team receives much instruction from Ed Franko of Big Ed’s Guide Service who volunteered to mentor the team after a generic email was sent to Lake of the Ozarks fishing guides located through internet searches.  

Frequent boat captains:  Scott Struemph, Bill Wieberg, Doug Holtmeyer, Steve Luetkemeyer and Derek Bax.  Ed Franko has also captained the boat for a team. 

Club accomplishments:  In 2018 Trey Struemph and Gerald Luetkemeyer placed 105th overall in the NYFA Missouri Division and Cody Wieberg and Zach Holtmeyer placed 130th out of 304 teams. 

In the March 2019 NYFA Lake of the Ozarks tournament Cody Wieberg and Gerald Luetkemeyer won the PTA event and  earned $1,100 for the team and Trey Struemph and Zach Holtmeyer finished 17th out of 99 boats netting the team $125. Winnings are returned to the team funds.  In the Junior High division Trey Struemph and Zach Holtmeyer came in fifth out of 55 boats adding $100 to the team funds.  In the May 2019 NYFA tournament at Table Rock Lake Trey Struemph and Zach Holtmeyer finished in 64th place and Cody Wieberg and Gerald Luetkemeyer placed 57th during the PTA tournament out of 109 boats.  In the High school division Cody Wieberg and Gerald Luetkemeyer placed 65th out of 290 boats. The teams of Trey Struemph and Zach Holtmeyer and Cody Wieberg and Gerald Luetkemeyer have qualified in the top 40 percent of the PTA tournament competitors and will compete in the championship on Table Rock Lake on Sept. 7. 

Other annual activities: In the 2018 season, the club received overwhelming support from the community through donations and received a $500 community grant from Wal-Mart.  The team also received a Lew’s grant which gave the club four rod-and-reel combos. The club was also featured in an article in the Eldon Advertiser newspaper.

In 2019 the club again received overwhelming community support through donations and attendance at its first Fish Fry and raffle.  The team also received a $1,500 grant from Crestliner Angling Aces and a jersey discount from Crestliner. A $500 grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation specifically for fishing teams was awarded to the team and the St. E Anglers used the money to take the St. Elizabeth first-grade class to the Lost Valley Fish Hatchery in Warsaw for a day of fishing.  They also presented each first-grader with their own fishing rod.  The team also took advantage of the Lew’s grant again adding four rod-and-reel combos to the team equipment.  These funds allowed the members to participate without large expense to the parents.

The team also takes advantage of the knowledge of local guides and pros by attending weekly fishing seminars hosted by John Neporadny and Bassing Bob at the Osage Beach City Park. They actively listen to the tips and tricks shared by the locals and have made some lifelong connections with the local fishermen.  

The high school anglers are also responsible for knowing the rules and having their boats ready with required safety equipment. They have learned to use graphs to their advantage and give directions to their boat captain.  They have learned ways to keep their fish alive on hot tournament days.  This sport has taught them to be proactive and conscious of fish location, elements, and underwater structure and to make the adjustments necessary to catch fish whether it is changing lures or presentations. 

They have already received the $1,500 grant from Crestliner again for the 2020 season.  They are also planning for their March 6, 2020 Fish Fry and Raffle.  The team also plans to apply for the Lew’s grant program and the Missouri Department of Conservation grant 

Club members:  Cody Wieberg and Gerald Luetkemeyer (sophomores) Trey Struemph and Zach Holtmeyer (freshmen) and Sam Luetkemeyer (sixth grade) and Trent Bax (eighth grade).

Team Facebook page:  St. E Anglers.

Twitter:  St. E Anglers