Sam Sayad and Chris Rhoden hold up their bounty in the FLW collegiate western regionals, were they finished fifth, qualifying for nationals in 2013.
(Photo courtesy of Alexa Bowe)

The UC Santa Cruz bass fishing team of Sam Sayad and Chris Rhoden took fifth in the FLW College Fishing Series Western Regional Championship at Utah Lake near Utah Valley in Utah over the weekend.

The anglers, who started the team at UCSC last year, were blanked in the final round, but caught six fish over the first two days to help them secure fifth place and a $3,000 prize.

Their finish also qualified them for the collegiate nationals next year in Louisiana. There, “the first-place team wins $25,000 for their school and $50,000 cash and a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90 horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard wrapped in school colors for their fishing club,” according to

Cal State-Long Beach’s Alex Cox and Justin Gangel won the event after catching five fish in the last round to boost their total to 14 for the tournament — six more than the next closest finishers.

Results in this report are from the 2012 Western Conference Championships website.