Tribe: Ruling could reform U.S. agency for Native education

04/20/2018 12:00 PM
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) – Stephen C. has been taught only math and English at a U.S.-run elementary school for Native American children deep in a gorge off the Grand Canyon. Teachers have left midyear, and he repeatedly faces suspension and arrest for behavior his attorneys say is linked to a disability stemming from traumatic experiences.

The 12-year-old is among children from Arizona’s remote and impoverished Havasupai Reservation who are a step closer to their push for systematic reform of the U.S. agency that oversees tribal education, alleging in a lawsuit it ignored complaints about an understaffed school, a lack of special education and a deficient curriculum.

The students’ attorneys say they won a major legal victory recently when a federal court agreed that childhood adversity and trauma can be learning disabilities, a tactic the same law firm used in crime-ridden Compton, California. They say the case could have widespread effects for Native children in more than 180 schools nationwide overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education and in schools with large Native populations.

“Education is our lifeline and our future for our kids – and all students, not just down here, but nationally,” Havasupai Chairwoman Muriel Coochwytewa said. The BIE has “an obligation to teach our children. And if that’s not going on, then our children will become failures, and we don’t want that.”

Havasupai students face adversity and generational trauma from repeated broken promises from the U.S. government, efforts to eradicate Native culture and tradition, discrimination and the school’s tendency to call police to deal with behavioral problems, attorneys say.

Girl Attorney LLC rallies with teachers at Capitol

04/13/2018 03:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY – A group of more than 100 female attorneys, also known as Girl Attorney LLC, on April 9 marched to the Oklahoma Capitol to stand in solidarity with public school educators who had been rallying for increased funding since April 2.

Girl Attorney sent a letter on April 8 to Senate and House members. The letter, containing 628 signatures, stated: “The purpose of this visit is to meet with members of the 56th Legislature to discuss their plans to fully fund public education in Oklahoma. Various stakeholders have proposed possible solutions, and we expect our elected representatives to be able to speak intelligently about the merits and potential pitfalls of each. We also expect that a representative who is ideologically opposed to a particular proposal will be prepared to present a detailed alternative. We are business owners and taxpayers ourselves; if there is a means of providing a quality public education to our children without increasing taxes, then we would love to hear the details.”

Among the group were several Cherokee attorneys, including Nikki Baker Limore, the Cherokee Nation’s executive director of Indian Child Welfare. She said she became involved after learning there were 27 children in his class to one teacher.

“For a teacher with no aide, no intern, no assistance whatsoever to have to handle 27 5-year-olds, it was like herding cats,” Baker Limore said. “That’s what began my looking into the public school system, and that was eye-opening for me back at the beginning of the school year. I felt compelled.”

She said she also sees how the lack of funding affects the 84 children attending public school while in ICW custody. She said it’s hard for those children, who sometimes deal with personal trauma, to receive individual attention, encouragement and redirection because of class sizes.
Nikki Baker Limore, executive director of the Cherokee Nation’s Indian Child Welfare and attorney, waits outside the Capitol building holding a sign in support of Oklahoma teachers on April 9 in Oklahoma City. BRANDON SCOTT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation Businesses attorney Tralynna Scott, holding sign, and CN Assistant Attorney General Alayna Farris, to Scott’s right, leave the Oklahoma Bar Association building to walk to the Capitol building on April 9 in Oklahoma City. BRANDON SCOTT/CHEROKE PHOENIX
Nikki Baker Limore, executive director of the Cherokee Nation’s Indian Child Welfare and attorney, waits outside the Capitol building holding a sign in support of Oklahoma teachers on April 9 in Oklahoma City. BRANDON SCOTT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

NSU helps working adults complete degrees

04/13/2018 12:00 PM
MUSKOGEE – Northeastern State University is joining with universities around Oklahoma in its efforts to help working adults finish the requirements for bachelor’s degrees through the Reach Higher program.

Reach Higher is a flexible program that provides an adult student the opportunity to work full-time, have a family and complete a degree online. The curriculum is specifically designed to help working adults succeed in the workplace.

“Without this flexible and affordable option, many adult students would not be able to realize this lifelong dream of completing a bachelor’s degree,” Michelle Farris, Reach Higher program advisor, said.

In May, senior Shawna Glass will complete a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership through Reach Higher at NSU.

“I’m a single mother in my mid-30s, so I have to work during the day and be there for my kids and their busy schedules in the evenings. Traditional school was no longer an option for me,” she said. “The Reach Higher program has allowed me to still take care of my daily obligations while completing my degree online. My experience with the Reach Higher program has been a blessing. While it hasn’t always been easy, I have been able to reach my goal of completing my bachelor’s degree while still being able to work and take care of my children.”

SHS drama department presents ‘Into The Woods’

Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
04/13/2018 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Phoenix peeked in on Sequoyah High School’s drama department as it rehearsed for its upcoming adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s musical “Into the Woods,” which musically tells the darker side of the classic fairy tales Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk.

“Into The Woods” will be held at the Sequoyah’s The Place Where They Play on the SHS campus.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. on April 26, 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on April 27 and 2 p.m. on April 29.

For more information, visit or the Sequoyah Speech/Drama/Debate Students Facebook page.
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
Members of Sequoyah High School’s drama department rehearse lines for their adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s musical “Into the Woods.” ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX SHS drama department presents ‘Into The Woods’
Members of Sequoyah High School’s drama department rehearse lines for their adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s musical “Into the Woods.” ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

CNF accepting applications to 5th annual ACT prep camp

04/10/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation Foundation is accepting applications for its fifth annual ACT prep camp from June 4-9 at Northeastern State University.

The camp is offered to rising juniors and seniors and provides 16 hours of intensive ACT prep instruction, as well as college workshops focusing on admissions, financial aid, scholarship opportunities and time management. At the end of the weeklong camp, students will take the official ACT test at NSU.

All lodging, meals and testing expenses are provided by CNF, Cherokee Nation Businesses and NSU.

Applications will be accepted through April 21 and are available at

For more information, email or call 918-207-0950.

NSU’s Symposium on the American Indian schedule released

04/08/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Northeastern State University Center for Tribal Studies will present three keynote speakers, two film screenings and presentations April 16-21 as part of the 46th annual Symposium on the American Indian.

The Symposium’s theme is “Walking with our Ancestors: Preserving Culture and Honoring Tradition.”

The keynote speakers are Daryl Baldwin, Dr. Lee Francis IV and Dr. Daniel Wildcat. All keynote speakers will be located in the University Center Ballroom.

Dr. Lee Francis IV will speak at 9:30 a.m. on April 18. He is the national director of Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, the position he assumed after the passing of his father, Wordcraft founder, Dr. Lee Francis III. His work as a poet and scholar has appeared in journals and anthologies. He will explore the history of Native and Indigenous people in popular culture and highlight some of the efforts of “Indigenerds” worldwide to actively change the representations of Native people through dynamic and powerful expressions of self and culture.

Daryl Baldwin will speak at 1 p.m. on April 18. Baldwin is a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. His ancestors were active in the affairs of the Miami Nation dating back to the 18th century, and he continues this dedication through his work in language and cultural revitalization. Since 1995, Baldwin has worked with the Myaamia people developing culture and language-based educational materials and programs for the tribal community. Baldwin’s presentation will look at the role of the Myaamia Center at Miami University, a Miami Tribe of Oklahoma-supported research center, whose mission is to serve the needs of the Myaamia people, Miami University and partner communities through research, education and outreach that promote Myaamia language, culture, knowledge and values.

Bighorse named Cherokee Nation’s Vinita Health Center medical director

04/06/2018 12:30 PM
BARTLESVILLE – Amanda Bighorse, a Cherokee Nation citizen and doctor of osteopathic medicine, is now serving the Cherokee Nation as medical director of the Vinita Health Center.

A 2011 graduate of the Oklahoma State University College for Osteopathic Medicine, Bighorse chose osteopathy after seeing her father face cancer and her grandmother face diabetes.

“I always had the heart for helping people. That’s something that’s always been a part of who I am. Medicine always appealed to me. The different disease processes and medications always appealed to me,” she said.

She said she was interested in seeing how diseases work and how treatments are used on ailments.

“My grandmother was full-blood Cherokee, and her father was a medicine man. He had taught her a lot of that type of medicine. So he had kind of passed some of those things down to her. Growing up, that was a huge influence on me,” Bighorse said.
Amanda Bighorse Cherokee Nation citizen and Vinita Health Center Medical Director Dr. Amanda Bighorse visits with Three Rivers Health Center Medical Director James Baker on March 26 in Vinita. Bighorse became Vinita Health Center’s medical director on March 12. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Amanda Bighorse

NSU to host Inter-Tribal Language Summit April 18-19

04/04/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Northeastern State University will host this year’s Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes Language Committee April 18-19 at its Tahlequah campus.

The 2018 theme is “Engaging Families.” The summit will run concurrently with NSU’s annual Symposium of the American Indian. Topics to at the summit will focus on how to get families more involved with language learning. Registration for the event starts at 10 a.m. on April 18.

Entry to all summit sessions is free and open to the public. However, the summit luncheon on April 18 will require a $20 ticket. The meal includes an Italian meal and a performance by the Cherokee Immersion Charter School Youth Choir.

Roy Boney, Jr., Cherokee Nation Language Program manager and Inter-Tribal Council Language Committee president, said he encourages all who can to attend. “Finding ways to make our Indigenous languages become the primary languages in homes again is a major component of language revitalization for future generations. We invite everyone to join us at the 2018 Inter-Tribal Council Language Summit which will focus on strategies on how to engage our families and communities.”

For more information regarding the summit, email Teresa Workman, Chickasaw Nation Language Revitalization Program manager, at or Boney at The registration form for the summit can be downloaded at Make checks payable to “ITC Language.” Please bring the registration form(s) and checks to the first day of the summit. Receipts will be provided.

Oklahoma teachers walk out for 2nd day

04/03/2018 10:00 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Many schools will remain closed for a second day in Oklahoma Tuesday as teachers rally for higher pay and education funding in a rebellion that has hit several Republican-led states across the country.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation last week granting 15 to 18 percent higher salaries to teachers. But some educators — who haven't seen a pay increase in 10 years — say that isn't good enough and walked out.

"If I didn't have a second job, I'd be on food stamps," said Rae Lovelace, a single mom and a third-grade teacher at Leedey Public Schools in northwest Oklahoma who works 30 to 40 hours a week at a second job teaching online courses for a charter school.

Oklahoma's three largest school districts, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Edmond, will remain closed Tuesday to honor the walkout. Some schools are offering free meals to students aged 18 or younger, while various churches, faith organizations and charitable agencies are providing free day-care services. Spring break was last week in many Oklahoma districts.

Fallin warned Monday that the state budget is tight and there are other critical needs besides education.


Five Tribes Ancestry Conference set for June 7-9
04/22/2018 04:00 PM
SULPHUR – Explore your Native American heritage at the Five Tribes Ancestry Conference on June 7-9 at the Chickasaw Cultural Center.

The Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes, whose mission is to unite the governments of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek and Seminole nations, has endorsed this first-of-its-kind conference.

“The Five Tribes have a shared history due to the creation of the Dawes Rolls at the turn of the last century,” Cherokee Heritage Center Executive Director Dr. Charles Gourd said. “The vast majority of our visitors at CHC are interested in researching their family heritage, but they just aren’t sure where to start. Working with the Five Tribes, we have created a one-of-a-kind conference that will provide a better understanding of genealogical methodology and introduce available records to aid individuals in their family research.”

The three-day event is expected to provide tools to research Native American ancestry and discussion topics with guest speakers, including keynote speaker Dr. Daniel F. Littlefield Jr., director of the Sequoyah Research Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

“Archives, historical societies and other genealogical institutions, especially in the south-southeast, have all seen an increase in the number of people seeking information about their family ancestry,” Littlefield said. “The majority of researchers are focused on validating their family’s claim to Indian ancestry and, thus, tribal citizenship. It is our responsibility to assist these individuals to the best of our ability while educating the public about the realities of the search.”

The cost to attend is $150 and includes a conference bag and flash drive with digital copies of presentation materials. Registration forms are available at The deadline to register is May 31.

The CHC is presenting the Five Tribes Ancestry Conference, but it will take place at the Chickasaw Cultural Center at 867 Charles Cooper Memorial Road.

For more information, including accommodations and registration, call 918-456-6007, ext. 6162 or email or


CNF awards $210K in scholarships for 2018-19 academic year
03/28/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation Foundation announced on March 21 that it awarded $210,000 in scholarships to 29 high school graduates and 59 current university students for the 2018-19 academic year.

“We received a record number of applications this year and are thrilled to have the opportunity to support these students as they pursue their dreams of higher education,” CNF Executive Director Janice Randall said. “Thanks to our loyal donors and support from Cherokee Nation administration and Tribal Council, we continue to advance our mission to provide educational opportunities to Cherokee students so that they can reach their full potential.”

Applications were evaluated based on academic achievement, community and culture involvement and future plans to serve the Cherokee people. Scholarship recipients are:

• Morgan Grooms, Westville High School, Harold “Jiggs” Phillips Scholarship,

• Aspen Ford, Sequoyah High School, James R. Upton Memorial Award,

• Mackenzie Hackworth, Sequoyah High School, Cherokee Scholars,

• Ryan Hembree, Tahlequah High School, Cherokee Scholars,

• Katelyn Morton, Sequoyah High School, Sequoyah High School Alumni Scholarship,

• Sara Ryals, Northeastern State University, Cherokee Nation Businesses Scholarship,

• Garrett Tune, Sequoyah High School, James R. Upton Memorial Award,

• Abby James, Salina High School, Cherokee Scholars,

• Autumn Sinor, Chouteau- Mazie High School, Bill Rabbit Legacy Art Scholarship,

• Jeffrey Collier, Oklahoma Union High School, Perruzi Family Scholarship,

• Natalie Evans, Claremore High School, Cherokee Scholars,

• Lilly Hall, Inola High School, University of Tulsa/Cherokee Nation Foundation Scholarship,

• Riley Jensen, Claremore High School, Cherokee Scholars,

• Jackson Meisinger, Claremore High School, Cherokee Scholars,

• Kelcey Nees, Claremore High School, Cherokee Scholars,

• Laurel Reynolds, Claremore High School, Cherokee Scholars,

• Sequoyah Sandoval, Rogers State University, Brent and Janees Taylor RSU Business Scholarship,

• Caleb Armer, Muldrow High School, Cherokee Scholars,

• Erin Crawford, Carl Albert State College, Carl Albert State College Scholarship,

• Cade Floyd, Muldrow High School, Cherokee Scholars,

• Cassidy Floyd, Roland High School, Cherokee Scholars,

• Michelle Hughes, Northeastern State University, Audie Baker Memorial Scholarship,

• Emily Johnson, Oklahoma School of Science & Mathematics, Cherokee Scholars,

• Seth Sifuentes, Muldrow High School, Cherokee Scholars,

• Marshall Berry, Jenks High School, Cherokee Scholars,

• Wallis Hatch, Jenks High School, Cherokee Scholars,

• Dante McCoy, Northeastern State University, Kenneth Comer Scholarship,

• Kaci Alvarado, Amarillo High School, Susan B. Agnew Leoser Scholarship,

• Nathan Auffet, Dundy Co. Statton High School, Oklahoma State University/Cherokee Nation Foundation Scholarship,

• Deanna DeValve, Oconomowoc High School, Cherokee Scholars,

• Jacey Hall, Home School, At-Large Tribal Council Award,

• Morgan Matthews, Farmington High School, At-Large Tribal Council Award,

• Kylee Osburn, Deer Creek High School, At-Large Tribal Council Award, Cherokee Scholars,

• Julia Sharum, Trinity High School, At-Large Tribal Council Award,

• Sean Sikora, Edison Preparatory School, At-Large Tribal Council Award, Cherokee Scholars,

• Christopher Taylor, Missouri State University, Cherokee Nation Businesses Scholarship, and

• Cole Walker, Middle Park High School, At-Large Tribal Council Award.

Included in the awards are the first round of scholarship recipients benefiting from the organization’s Leave a Legacy endowment matching program. CNF launched the initiative in 2016 to create opportunities for Cherokee youth and achieved its campaign goal in October 2017. With support from its board of directors, CNF is continuing to match qualifying donations as funds allow.


Smith, Golden honored with CN Patriotism medals
03/20/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation honored U.S. Army and Navy veterans with the tribe’s Medal of Patriotism during the March 12 Tribal Council meeting.

Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden acknowledged Fields Smith, 84, of Vian, and Kenneth Golden, 68, of Stilwell, for their service to the country.

Sgt. Smith was born in 1933 and drafted into the Army in 1955. He completed basic training at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas and trained to become an infantryman. Later, he completed Fire Directing Control School and was sent to Fort Polk in Louisiana where he spent the remainder of his two-year service term. During his service, Smith completed non-commission school and received a sharpshooter medal for his rifle skills. Smith received an honorable discharge in 1957.

“I want to thank the Chief, the Deputy Chief and the Tribal Council for all of the good work that they do for our people,” Smith said.

Sgt. Golden was born in 1949 and enlisted in the Navy in 1968. Golden completed basic training in Chicago. After basic training, he was transferred to the Naval Air Station Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Florida, where he served as an aviation boatman mate. During his service, Golden was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and received an honorable discharge in 1972.

Each month the CN recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regard in which the tribe holds all veterans.

To nominate a veteran who is a CN citizen, call 918-772-4166.


Cherokees have used NSU optometry clinic for 39 years
04/20/2018 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH – Northeastern State University’s Oklahoma College of Optometry goes back 39 years in its relationship with the Cherokee Nation and in providing Cherokees eye care.

NSUOCO works with nine CN clinics, also known as Rural Eye Programs, in Tahlequah, Sallisaw, Stilwell, Jay, Salina, Vinita, Nowata, Muskogee and Ochelata and services 40,000 to 60,000 patients annually.

Its first graduating class was in 1983 and has since averaged 28 graduates annually from its four-year doctorate program.

The NSU campus clinic contains 20 exam rooms and specialty clinics for dry eye, contact lenses, low vision, vision therapy and infant vision clinic. If a REP is unable to provide a type of eye care, patients are sent to the NSU clinic for further evaluation and treatment.

Nate Lighthizer, NSUOCO Continuing Medical Education director and doctor of optometry, said the college has seen patients from 2 months old to 102 years old.

“We all have different vision needs. That’s one of the beauties of having a college is we have 35 faculty members that are either here, in (W.W.) Hastings (Hospital) or in the REPs, and a lot them have different interests. We have doctors that specialize in infant vision and vision therapy. They’re the expert in the 6-month-old and the 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-year-old. Other doctors, they’re the expert in the 80-year-olds,” Lighthizer said.

He said students begin in “didactically heavy” classes, building foundations and learning about systemic diseases, eye diseases, procedures when giving primary care, looking at the eye with microscopes and other program aspects.

He said students begin seeing patients at the end of the second year and into the third year.

CN citizen and fourth-year student Seth Rich said he applied for the NSU program because of the experience it would give him treating patients by the time he graduates.

“I’m from this area, so I wanted to serve basically in the population that I grew up in. Here at NSU we see more patients compared to any other optometry school by the time we graduate. We have more patient interactions that any other optometry school is going to have and more clinical experience because we start seeing patients a year early than most other schools,” he said.

Rich said he also has experience using the REPs and seeing the eye care needs among Cherokees.

“We deal with a lot of diabetic patients here at Cherokee Nation, and that has a really large effect on the eyes. Being able to be in this area and serve a population that has a huge need for us is a big deal because I personally have a lot of family ties to this area want to be in a community where I feel like I’m going to be contributing and giving back and helping the overall health of the population with health and exams,” he said.

Rich said the program prepares students to “go out into the real world” and treat patients of any need. “I feel very confident going out into the population and serving basically anybody that walks in the door.”

CN citizen Tara Comingdeer Fields, who is in her first year at NSUOCO, said she chose the program because of her area ties. “It’s not specifically just Cherokee Indians that I want to serve, but overall Native Americans. My background is I grew up in a traditional family, so the medicines and traditions that we did just kind of stuck with me, and now I want to help people.”

Comingdeer Fields and Rich are recipients of Indian Health Services scholarships for optometry and will work under an IHS contract upon graduation.

Lighthizer said CN citizens make up between 10 to 15 percent of the NSUOCO’s students and that it’s usually rewarding for a Cherokee to grow up using CN eye care services and then go through the program and become a provider. “It’s just a very mutually beneficial relationship between Cherokee Nation to be able to have all of these patients seen and then obviously for the education for students to be able to see patients and hone their skills.”


OPINION: The Information Super Highway
Tribal Councilor
04/03/2018 12:30 PM
In today’s world, the term “information super highway” refers to the internet. While this term is modern, the idea behind it is as old as civilization. The idea is to create the shortest and most efficient route to move information. For as long as a thousand years, Indigenous people have used a route of travel not far from here because it was the most efficient route to deliver information and supplies. This route has been referred to at various times as the Osage Trail, the Seminole Trail, the Texas Road and the Military Highway.

A decade before the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee Nation’s first Supreme Court Justice, John Martin, brought his family from their home in New Echota, Georgia, to Indian Territory. His son, Joe, was only 8 years old in 1828 when they settled on the Grand River. He took to his new home quickly. In 1840 when he was just 20, he had already established a ranch that would become known as Greenbrier near the community of Strang.

To call Greenbrier a ranch is a bit of an understatement. By the time the Civil War started in 1861, the Martin family ranch and the river beside it both could be referred to as Grand. It consisted of around 100,000 acres of leased Cherokee land, about the size of what is now Mayes County. On this land was a good portion of the route then referred to as the Texas Road or the Military Highway. Before the war, the route saw many cattle drives from Texas to Kansas.

As the war progressed, it was described as “a critical route for information and supplies” for troops of both the North and the South. It was the shortest route from Fort Scott, Kansas, to Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, and Fort Worth, Texas. Two battles during the war were fought on the route. The North was the victor of the first battle. A year later the South had a much bigger victory by capturing hundreds of mules and wagons. This victory also interrupted supplies bound for Fort Gibson valued at over $1.5 million.

After the War Between the States ended, Greenbrier never regained its former glory. Today there is little more than a few historical markers to prove it once was there. Within a few years of the end of the war, the KATY Railroad followed the route from Kansas to Texas. In the early years of statehood the route developed into what is now known as U.S. Highway 69 and remained a critical route for information and supplies.

In recent years, technology giant Google established a data center complex in Mayes County. This data center could be described as a key component of the “information super highway.” It is fitting that the data center sits a short distance from the Grand River, within sight of Highway 69 and the railroad once known as the KATY. Now, as then, this route can accurately be described as “a critical route for information and supplies.”


Haggard helps his NSU fishing team win Texas tournament
04/12/2018 12:00 PM
DENISON, Texas – Cherokee Nation citizen Blayke Haggard of Gans, Oklahoma, made up one half of the winning fishing team from Northeastern State University to win the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Lake Texoma on April 8.

Haggard and his teammate Cody Metzger of Wagoner, Oklahoma, caught their five-bass limit for a winning weigh to 19 pounds, 4 ounces.

The victory earned the Riverhawk bass club $2,600 and a spot in the 2019 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

The duo said that they spent the day targeting smallmouth bass on main-lake points, about 5 to 8 miles away from the takeoff ramp at Highport Marina.

“We focused on the points where the wind was blowing the hardest, fishing the mid to southeastern areas of the lake,” Haggard, a sophomore majoring in cellular and molecular biology, said. “We had five or six points that we rotated through that all looked very similar, fishing in 4 to 10 feet.”

The Riverhawk club cited citrus shad-colored Bandit 200 crankbaits and a prototype Bandit squarebill crankbait as its most productive lures. Club members said that they caught 10 to 12 keepers.

“We had great execution,” Haggard said. “I caught a 4-pounder early, then three casts later Cody put a 3½-pounder in the boat. Those early fish clued us in that we were doing the right thing. It also helped that we didn’t lose any fish all day.”
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