For the second consecutive year, the Poplarville, Miss., angler won the Mississippi Junior Bassmaster State Championship. He's the first Junior Bassmaster angler to take two titles in a row in Mississippi.
"It's unbelievable. It's an amazing thing to get to do at the age I am now," said Ladner, 17. "I feel it is the beginning of my future, the start of a career as a bass pro."
Ladner's Oct. 23 win on Mississippi's Flint Creek Reservoir secured his berth for next year's Bassmaster Southern Divisional youth event. In turn, that tournament will determine qualifiers for the 2011 Junior Bassmaster World Championship (event dates and locations to be announced).
Ladner, who turned 17 about a week after he became a two-time state champ, is a junior in high school. He's already checking out colleges, favoring Southern Miss for its civil engineering program. He likes the looks of the bass fishing team there, too. He's certainly thinking about a pro fishing future.
"I want the college degree and career, but I'd also like to go all the way with the fishing," he said. "Maybe I'll get lucky and be able to do both."