As a forward for the Vernon Hills boys soccer team, Chris White got used to hunting for open space on the field. This spring, he put his efforts into seeking other targets located not on dry land but in the water.
White joined the Cougars’ bass fishing team. In May, White and fellow senior Christian Zirzow were on a boat that competed in the Chain O’Lakes Sectional in Fox Lake. White and Zirzow caught bass weighing 10 pounds, 3 ounces, enough to place second and qualify for the state meet.
“It’s the best we’ve ever done,” White said. “We did fantastic.”
Vernon Hills did not catch any bass at the state meet June 14-15 downstate at Carlyle Lake, and White did not make the trip due to a previous commitment. The state finals were originally scheduled for May 19-20, but the Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees activity on Carlyle Lake, postponed the finals due to excessive rain earlier this spring.
Still, the Cougars counted the season as a successful one, as they had not been to state since the inaugural competition in 2009.
Vernon Hills fishing coach Doug Dusthimer said White’s decision to join the team played a large part in the Cougars’ success at sectionals.
“What you need is someone who is obsessed with it,” Dusthimer said. “(White) got bit by the bug.”
White first fished at about age 10 with his father, David.
The family of Mundelein soccer player Ethan Butler, who is a close friend of Chris White, owns a home in Eagle River, Wis. There, and at Countryside Lake in Mundelein and Lake Charles in Vernon Hills, White practiced fishing and realized he enjoyed devising strategies to catch fish.
Having committed to play college soccer at Loyola of Chicago, White had some free time this spring and joined the fishing team.
“I’ve always been an avid fisherman, but I’ve been too busy or didn’t want to commit,” White said. “But it was my senior year, and I said, ‘Let’s get involved,’ and I went…