Ashville senior reels in college scholarship


Photo: Ashville High senior Walker Griffith signed a fishing scholarship with Snead State on April 11. Pictured, sitting, from left: dad Tom, Walker, mom Susan. Standing, sister Ashley Barber holding nephew K.T. Barber. (Courtesy of Becky Staples Photography) 

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Upon entering high school four years ago, Walker Griffith never thought that his college education would be paid for courtesy of his favorite outdoor activity.
Think again.
On April 11, the Ashville High senior signed a fishing scholarship with Snead State Community College, becoming the first AHS student to use angling as a means of financing secondary education.
“I get to go to college and do what I love to do,” said Griffith, who plans on majoring in poultry science and minoring in pre-vet at Snead. “It’s a full ride, so it covers everything. If someone told me that I could get my tuition paid for by fishing, they wouldn’t have to ask me twice.”
The coming together of Griffith’s scholarship offers occurred when Griffith was invited to participate in the 2023 Bassmaster High School Combine at Lake Wheeler along with 120 anglers from across the country. Following the tournament, Griffith received offers from Murray State and Faulkner University after finishing in the top 25. But Griffith preferred to stay closer to home in Boaz.
“I talked with the Snead State coach (Dr. Tom Warren), but he wasn’t able to tell me I had a scholarship until about two weeks ago.”
Although Griffith has been fishing recreationally since the age of five, he admits that did not start to take the sport seriously until he was a sophomore in high school and a member of the AHS fishing team.
“When I joined the team as a freshman, I didn’t really know what I was doing, and that’s when I entered my first tournament,” he said. “I really worked my butt off during my sophomore and junior years, and it paid off.”
While fishing on the ASABFA and the Bassmaster Bass Nation circuits, Griffith strung together numerous top 10 and top five finishes in tournaments that averaged 150 to 200 boats, which in turn helped the AHS fishing team qualify for multiple state tournaments.
Since the high school club fishing season spans the aca-demic year from August to May, Griffith had to work his schedule around basketball in the winter and soccer in the spring.
“Most of the trail tournaments were on the weekends, so I didn’t have to adjust too much, but sometimes I had to look at the [sports] schedules and see how I could fit in everything.”
Besides portions of the Coosa River and Lake Nee-ly Henry, Griffith pointed to Lake Guntersville and Lake Wheeler as favorite fishing spots. With the Snead State team, he will participate in Major League Fishing and Southern Collegiate Series Tournaments.
“We’ll be going to tournaments in Michigan, Ohio and Oklahoma, so I’m really looking forward to that,” he said. “Like in high school, we’ll mostly be targeting bass.”



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