MLF Embedded: Challenge Cup 'Bubble Boys' Battle for Final Spots in World Championship
By Joel Shangle
June 6, 2018
NATCHEZ, Miss. – While the competition on the waters of the lower Mississippi River Valley are the main focal points of the 13 anglers who remain in the 2018 Lucas Oil Challenge Cup in Vidalia, Louis./Natchez, Miss., a handful of anglers on the MLF Cup roster are paying just as much attention to points standings.
Heading into this, the second of this year’s two Cup competitions, Mark Davis occupied the 12th spot in the two-year cumulative point total that determines which dozen anglers compete in the 2018 General Tire World Championship. With 42 points over three events, Davis held a seven-point cushion over Jeff Kriet (36) and trailed 11th-place angler Mike McClalland (43) by just one point.
“I guess I’m THAT guy,” Davis joked. “Nobody wants to be THAT guy, but I can’t complain about it. I’m the one who got me here, so I guess I’m the one who has to pull myself up a little.”
Unfortunately for Davis, he finished eighth in his Elimination Round with 10 pounds, 11 ounces, while Kriet finished third in the same round with 19-12 and advanced to the Sudden Death Rounds. “The Squirrel” failed to make it out of Sudden Death, but even with one more Sudden Death round and the Championship Round to be contested, the worst Kriet will finish in the event is ninth.
Unofficially, that would earn Kriet 19 points and leapfrog him into the Top 12.
“That all sounds great to me, but you said ‘unofficial’, right?” Kriet said when asked about the points race. “I mean, if you want to go ahead and make that official, I’ll be the happiest guy here.”
The opposite could probably be said for Timmy Horton. Entering this event, Horton sat comfortably in ninth place with 47 points, but finished ninth in his Elimination Round with 7-1. Based on the weights of the nine anglers eliminated in the first round, Horton will finish the event with just two points, which puts him in severe danger of falling out of the World Championship once points are officially tallied after this event.
NOTES: Of the anglers remaining in the Challenge Cup, Gary Klein and Ish Monroe still have the most potential to climb into the Top 12. Entering this event, the two were tied with 30 points (with Monroe holding a slight edge in the tie-breaker). Both Klein and Monroe advanced to the Championship, finishing fourth and first, respectively, in the most recently-aired Sudden Death Round.