Alexis Virgillito and Taylor Bacot are now record holders in the bass fishing books after sealing the Louisiana state championship.
A combo of firsts have helped two female anglers gain the spotlight for their performance on the Louisiana high school fishing stage, not to mention the U.S. competitive fishing community as a whole.
Alexis Virgillito and Taylor Bacot, competing for the Parkway High School Fishing Team out of Bossier City, became the first all-girl team to win a high school fishing state championship. They were also the first all-girls team to win the North Louisiana High School Fishing League tournament, and the first all-girl team to win a TBF (Bass Federation) event in the country.
Southern Living shared details of their win and communicated with Brad Virgillito, Alexis' father, for more details. Alexis is an 8th grader participating on the high school team, and Taylor is a freshman at Parkway High.
"They zeroed at Toledo Bend, which is the very first tournament of the year," 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."
They achieved that goal, and then some. Within 30 minutes of the March 13 Caddo Lake event's start, Alexis and Taylor had already boated five keepers, setting themselves up for a victory with 30 pounds, 3 ounces at weigh-in. That was enough to beat 108 other teams and earn the state champ title.
Next came qualification for the North Louisiana High School Fishing Tournament on March 26. A bag of only three fish was enough to top the standings, helped in large part by one particularly large largemouth. Alexis reeled in the Big Bass competition with that catch, with the fishing weighing in just under 10 pounds.
Their work isn't done, as they've qualified for the high school national championship coming up in June at Pickwick Lake in Alabama.
"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.'"