STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Tim Ward and C.J. Knight
BY Kayla sellers, senior/AGRICULTURAL COMMUNICATIONS
Auburn University’s Bass Fishing Sports Club is well-known in the collegiate bass fishing tournament world, and when College of Agriculture students Tim Ward and C.J. Knight found their place in it, they were caught— hook, line and sinker.
Tim, 25, of Childersburg, transferred to Auburn’s College of Agriculture in fall 2011 from Central Alabama Community College after learning about the club’s recognition in the collegiate bass fishing world. He’s been part of it for three years now, and in addition to numerous tournament wins, Tim will soon have a degree from the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences in fisheries management.
Sylacauga native C.J., 22, also transferred to Auburn from CACC in spring 2014 and is working toward a degree in environmental sciences. 2015 marks his second season with the club.
While the two guys are classmates, their relationship didn’t form in the classroom; it formed on the platform of a fishing boat. Tim and C.J. are a team representing Auburn’s Bass Fishing Sports Club, and their accolades are a unique factor of their friendship. In fact, their first tournament together brought home a third-place title out of 130 boats at St. John’s River in Palatka, Florida.
“But we should have won,” Tim jokingly says.
In March 2014, Tim, along with teammate Garrett Roberts, represented Auburn at the Fishing League Worldwide national championship at Lake Keowee in South Carolina where the team finished eighth out of the 50 best contenders in the collegiate bass fishing circuit.
“That was my first national championship and the first experience I’ve had having a camera guy in the boat,” Tim says. “It was definitely pretty memorable.”
This year, Tim and C.J. qualified as two of the top eight anglers on Auburn’s team, allowing them to fish in regional tournaments that have ultimately led them to a slot in the Bassmaster national championship.
The duo will represent Auburn at the Bassmaster College Series national championship later this summer.
“We haven’t won a national championship yet,” C.J. says. “But Auburn is always there. We have one of the most consistent collegiate teams in the nation if you look at it from a statistical standpoint. Fingers crossed we can bring home a title this year.”
Tim will also compete in the FLW national championship at Lake Murray in South Carolina this April.
The bass fishing club sport at Auburn offers students a unique opportunity, as it is one of the largest collegiate bass fishing clubs in the nation. Averaging around 40 members, the club allows for meetings and the opportunity to by a bass fishing jersey. The club also offers volunteer service at high school tournaments and of course, the opportunity to qualify as one of the top eight anglers and proceed to the Bassmaster or FLW national championship.
“Anyone can enjoy the benefits of the club, you know, the T-shirts and attending the meetings, without actually participating in any of the events,” C.J. says. “It’s a lot of fun even if you chose not to compete.”
While the two are busy being lured by the thought of a national title, they also are advocates for getting hooked on involvement at Auburn.
“There are so many benefits in the College of Ag,” Tim says. “Aside from all the involvement opportunities, I’ve never met such helpful people. They want to see me succeed, not only in fishing, but in my education.”
Kayla Sellers is a senior in agricultural communications.