Louisiana Teens Make History as First All-Girl Team to Win State Fishing Championship
March was a big month for Alexis Virgillito and Taylor Bacot. The Louisiana teens and members of the Parkway High School fishing team made history by becoming the first all-girls team to win a high school fishing state championship anywhere in the country. In addition, they set records as the first all-girls team to win a North Louisiana High School state fishing tournament and the first-all girls team to win a TBF (Bass Federation) event in the nation.
The young anglers' winning streak started on March 13 when they competed in the state championship at Caddo Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana. Alexis, an 8th grader who competes for the high school team, and Taylor, a freshman at Parkway High, have both been fishing since they were in diapers. Despite their experience, sometimes the fish just don't bite, and going into the tournament they were in the midst of a dry spell.
"They zeroed at Toledo Bend, which is the very first tournament of the year," Alexis's dad Brad Virgillito told Southern Living. "We set a goal for Caddo, for the state championship, to just bring a fish across the scales and not zero."
The girls ended up knocking that goal out of the water. Within 30 minutes of the tournament kicking off, they had already reeled in five keepers. In total, the five massive fish weighed about 25 pounds. From there, they reeled in bigger and bigger fish, swapping out smaller catches for ones that would bring their total weight up.
"I told them, 'If y'all don' win today, I don't know when y'all are going to win. But y'all did something that most grown men will never accomplish in a tournament in their life,'" Brad said.
When it was time to weigh their best five, the scale read 30 pounds and 3 ounces. The girls had beaten out 108 other teams and earned the title of state champions.
Coming off their historic win, the girls competed again at the North Louisiana High School Fishing League tournament on March 26. Once again, they topped the podium with three fish totaling 17.71 pounds. Alexis also won the Big Bass competition with a master weighing in at just under 10 pounds.
With two historic wins under their belts, the girls have their sights set on the high school national championship. The duo will compete at Lake Pickwick in Florence, Alabama, on June 22-25. Though their past couple of wins have certainly given them a much-deserved confidence boost, Brad says that their goal for the next tournament remains the same.
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"The girls' goal every tournament is just don't zero," Brad said. "But we always tell the girls, 'A lot of people might beat your records, but there's no one that's going to take away the title of being the first to ever do it.'"
Way to go, Alexis and Taylor! We'll be cheering you on this summer!