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Students Earn Shimano Varsity Program Scholarships

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PARIS LANDING STATE PARK, Tenn. — All with future goals to have careers in fisheries and wildlife management fields, Shimano – in conjunction with B.A.S.S. Conservation, today named the winners of its 2017 Shimano Varsity Program scholarships. The student anglers earning the college funds include Nicolas Boyett and Chase Ditchkoff from Georgia, Patrick Durand from New Jersey, and Logan Parks from Alabama. Each student is being awarded a $3,000 scholarship to pursue college degrees within biology, fisheries, wildlife or natural resource fields.

In making the announcement during the first day weigh-in for the B.A.S.S. High School National Championship at Paris Landing State Park Marina, where 240 teams are fishing on Kentucky Lake, Shimano Youth Fishing Director Frank Hyla said “assisting young anglers and their passion for a career in helping assure there are excellent fishing resources for the next generation is one of the keystone goals of our Shimano Varsity Program. All of us with Shimano couldn’t be happier that in our first year with the scholarship program, we were able to select four outstanding future college freshman – plus they are all pretty good bass anglers.”

From Climax, Ga., Nicholas Boyett graduated from Bainbridge High School, and plans to major in wildlife management at Bainbridge State College. One day he hopes to own or manage a fishing or hunting operation.

With a goal of working for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources after studying fisheries at West Georgia University, Alexander High School grad Chase Ditchkoff from Lithia Springs, Ga., earned a varsity sports ‘letter’ from fishing on his school’s team. Alexander High is the first school in the country to honor its student athletes with awards for fishing.

A graduate of Cherry Hill High School in Cherry Hill, N.J. Patrick Durand is the founder of the Cherry Hill Outdoorsman Club. He is majoring in environmental science at the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, and plans a career in the environmental field.

Along with being a co-founder of the Auburn High School bass team – and serving as the team president, Logan Parks from Auburn, Ala. designed and implemented a fishing line recycling project at seven sites around Alabama’s Lake Logan Martin. He will major in fisheries or agri-business at Auburn University.

With the noted decline in professional natural resource managers who fish, “the goal in working with B.A.S.S. to recruit students who already enjoy fishing and are interested in natural resource professions will pay off with these four outstanding young men,” said Phil Morlock, Vice President for Government Affairs/Advocacy at Shimano. “We are already looking forward to even more interest in the scholarship program next year, and more interest among young anglers to pursue careers in fish and wildlife management fields.”

For more information on the Shimano Varsity Program, visit

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