University of Montevallo sophomore fishing team anglers Peyton Harris and Dalton Head became the first duo to win a national championship for the program at the 2023 Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI National Championship Presented by Lowrance Feb. 23 at Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Florida.
Harris and Head claimed the national title with the largest weigh-in of the tournament after hitting the five-fish limit weighing 27 pounds, 11 ounces on the final day of the event. The pair entered the final day of competition in third place before a total weigh-in of 15 bass at 66 pounds, 15 ounces over the three-day event gave them the win by a 1-pound, 8-ounce margin over runners up Andrew Ready and Vincent Maffei from Webber International University.
“It’s probably the most exciting weigh-in I’ve ever seen,” said Montevallo fishing team coach William Crawford. “It was a magical day for those guys and the program. They do it the right way and they’re really good guys.”
Following the collegiate national championship, the pair qualified for the 2023 Toyota Series Championship along with professional anglers. Harris, of Chelsea, Alabama, and Head, of Moody, Alabama, grew up fishing nearby on the Coosa River. Harris expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to continue his fishing career and earn a college degree not far from his hometown after teaming up with Head to win the Falcons’ first national championship.
“We can’t thank the University of Montevallo enough,” Harris said. “Both of us sought out Montevallo as a university because of its impressive fishing program. We knew in order to become better anglers, we needed to go somewhere where we could fish with the best college anglers in the country. Fishing with the best pushes us to be our best. And that’s why we are here today.”
Despite the team’s success in the past two years after claiming back-to-back School of the Year titles, a national championship for a pair of anglers has been an elusive dream for the Falcons. Harris and Head finally achieved the high mark for collegiate anglers to help provide additional cushion as Montevallo chases a third consecutive School of the Year honor.
“I kept telling the guys it was going to happen eventually,” Crawford said. “I’m so excited for the students and the program.”