Eckert and Messer are World Champions

Win their age group in the 2009 National Guard TBF Junior World Championship

$42,000 in scholarships and Berkley product grants awarded


PITTSBURGH – Zack Messer of Aiken, S.C., won the 15 to 18 age bracket and Daryk Eckert of Stockport, Ohio, won the 11 to 14 age bracket in the National Guard Junior World Championship on the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh. Held in conjunction with the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by BP and Castrol, the National Guard Junior World Championship awarded $42,000 in scholarships and Berkley youth-program product grants.

Messer, from The Bass Federation’s Western division, and representing the state of Idaho, won the 15 to 18 age group with five bass weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces. A sack of fish any one of the FLW tour pros fishing just one lock down would have been proud to have. He also managed the day big bass prize…….the National Guard Pizza Party CUP! The “Pizza Party Cup” was money donated by the angler’s parents and guests at the night before’s National Guard Pizza Party by fishing icon Hank Parker. In total over $500.00 cash was stuffed down inside the “Pizza Party Cup” !

Messer started tournament fishing three years ago when a friend brought him to a tournament in Idaho, he placed second in his first tournament and was hooked. “Fishing with pro Chip Harrison on day one and Team National Guard pro Tim Klinger today was an honor and a thrill,” said Messer.

The other division champions in the 15 to 18 age group who continued competition today were Patrick Infurna of Fairhaven, Vt., eastern division, (one fish, 1-4); Tyler Kleeb of Lincoln, Neb., central division, (one fish, 0-12); Matt Hartman of Fredericksburg, Pa., Mid-Atlantic Division, (zero fish, 0-0); Cody Harris of Grant Blanc, Mich., Northern Division (zero fish, 0-0) and Dayton Jones of Hopkinsville, Ky., Southern Division (zero fish, 0-0).

Daryk Eckert of Stockport, Ohio, won the 11-14 age bracket in the National Guard TBF Junior World Championship. Eckert represents the TBF’s Northern division and the State of Ohio. He won his World Champions title with three bass weighing 2 pounds, 12 ounces.

Eckert was pretty nervous going into today’s final round of the tournament but after hearing that only three other youth anglers in his age bracket bagged fish, Eckert going into the weigh-in said he felt pretty good about his three-bass catch. He and Messer fished from the same boat; before take-off they discussed what baits to use and areas that should be fished. “Working together paid off for us,” said Eckert. Both youth have river fishing experience but were not used to the faster waters that flow through the Allegheny in Pittsburgh.

The other anglers in the 11 to 14 age group who competed in the final day today where; Representing the eastern division, Andrew Roberts of Plattsburgh, N.Y. (one fish, 1-7); Shane Edgar of Glendale, Ariz. represented the western division with (one fish, 1-2); Matt Hasenfratz of Ponca City, Okla., central division (one fish, 0-12); Kendall Seitz of Hickory, N.C., southern division, (one fish, 0-0); and Ian Alston of Windsor Mill, Md., Mid-Atlantic Division, (three fish, 0-0).

The junior anglers were paired with an FLW Outdoors Pro for competition on the Allegheny River. There were three anglers to a boat: a junior angler from each age group plus an FLW Tour pro who assists the junior anglers but did not fish. The two junior anglers shared control of the boat for the day but competed in their respective age groups. Weights were zeroed Saturday as the top six anglers in the 11 to 14 age bracket and the top six anglers in the 15 to 18 age bracket continued competition, with the winners determined by the heaviest catch from today.

Designed to highlight the best up-and-coming bass fishing talent in the country, the National Guard Junior World Championship also provides national recognition for the positive activities pursued by America’s youth.

First-place finishers in each age bracket received a $5,000 scholarship in addition to a $200 Walmart gift card courtesy of Goodwill. Second-place finishers received $3,000 scholarships plus a $150 Evinrude certificate. Third-place finishers received $2,500 scholarships plus a $100 Cabelas gift card. Fourth-place finishers received $2,000 scholarships. Fifth-place finishers received $1,500 scholarships.. Sixth-place finishers received $1,000 scholarships.

Additionally, FLW Outdoors, on behalf of the Berkley, awarded $1,000 in Berkley product to each of the state TBF chapters represented by the six finalists in each age bracket. This money, totaling $12,000, will benefit each chapter’s youth program.

For full standings, see our results page.