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Wall first solo Bassmasters winner

Jacksonville's Jacob Wall overcame myriad obstacles, including flying solo, to become the first collegiate angler to win a Bassmasters collegiate competition fishing alone when he won the Bassmaster College Series Western Regional tournament Monday in Nevada.

With partner Dalton Taylor sidelined with stomach flu, Wall also overcame early engine troubles to come from behind and win the three-day event at Lake Mead, earning his University of Oregon team a trip to the national collegiate finals at a yet-to-be-determined date and location.

"It was something I'll never forget," says Wall, 21, a junior at Oregon. "It's probably the best event I've ever fished in my life. I went through a lot of ups and downs in the event."

Wall went into the event Saturday knowing he was fishing alone in the two-person team event, but that was fine with him.

"I like fishing alone," says Wall, who hopes to become a bass-angling professional. "For me, it's even a more realistic challenge for what I plan to do in the future."

But he didn't plan on his main motor's lower unit conking out right after motoring out of the no-wake zone during Saturday morning's opening. He stuck around the main bay working with just his trolling motor, but managed to boat a five-fish limit weighing 12 pounds, 6 ounces that was good enough for third place.

A local angler who grew up in Salem loaned him a lower unit that the pair mounted on Wall's motor. It worked, but Wall still focused on that same bay to boat five more bass weighing 12 pounds, 13 ounces Sunday.

Heading into Monday less than two pounds out of the lead, he caught enough big smallmouth to net 16 pounds, 13 ounces to win the tourney by slightly more than a pound.

He is the first collegian to win a Carhartt Bassmaster College Series event as a solo competitor, according to Bassmaster. The win earned him $250.

Sawyer team third in USRA nationals

The Sawyer Paddles and Oars rafting team took third place among the five four-man teams that vied for the U.S. Rafting Association national championships last weekend on the Rogue and Klamath rivers.

They placed behind the two Colorado teams, including the reigning champs, 9Ball, who took first overall.

But that doesn't mean the Oregonians will be left off the U.S. national team when it travels to Dubai in October to compete in the world championships, Newport says.

The Sawyer Team ended up beating 9Ball in the slalom portion of the event, says Pete Newport, co-owner of Sawyer. The showing was impressive enough that the Colorado team invited the Sawyer team to join forces to create a competitive under-40 team and a masters team to compete in Dubai, Newport says.

Joining Newport on the Sawyer team were Matt Dopp, Covey Baack and Andy Baxter.

The group plans to train together in June and September, Newport says.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.