Area FFA members do well at fall invitational

MARSHALL – A number of area FFA teams took advantage of the opportunity to compete at the Minnesota Career Development Events (CDE) Fall Invitational Tuesday at the University of Minnesota.

While some area teams did well, all of them likely gained valuable experience as they gear up for the regional competition Tuesday in Sherburne.

“For some schools, this competition is more of a practice contest,” said Jason Kaare, Marshall FFA adviser. “A lot of schools will use this competition to determine the top five team members, which is the maximum you can have. For example, we have seven kids who want to be on the horse judging team. So we’ll figure out the top scores, and those five students will be on the regional team.”

Marshall took fourth place in the horse competition, behind the strong showing of team members Kenzie Gillow (12th as an individual), Ruth Hoversten (17th), Kenzie Schultz (65th), Destany Soupir (135th) and Kendra Vroman (159th).

“I was very happy with how they did,” Kaare said. “Last year, the team got third place at the state convention, so I knew they’d do well, but we lost a few seniors from that team, so I didn’t know how well. There are quite a few freshman on the team, and they still did well, especially for the first competition of the year.”

Kaare said the hope is that the freshman students enjoy the competition and stay with the program.

“You hope they have an interest in the contest as a freshman and then get better every year so that we have some successful teams in the future,” he said. “It’s encouraging to see how well the team did, even with so many new members.”

A variety of classes are judged in the horse competition, Kaare said.

“Students judge how the animal is built, and they also have a couple of performance classes they judge,” he said. “Like for English pleasure, they’d have to determine how the animals are doing. The officials also ask all the kids which animal was more structurally correct in their legs, for example, and then they’d have to give a list of reasons. They’re scored on that as well.”

While a maximum of five students can compete on a team, only the top three scores count, Kaare said. In the process of team competition, participating students are also being scored as individuals. Marshall senior Dalton Vroman earned fifth-place honors in the general livestock competition.

“He did very well, placing fifth individually out of 296 students in the general livestock contest,” Kaare said. “I knew he would do well. He has a history of doing well at these competitions, and his passion is beef cattle. He wants to breed show cows someday, so he’s motivated internally.”

A total of 86 teams competed in the general livestock category Tuesday, including Canby (13th as team), Minneota (18th) and Red Rock Central (21st). Brigit Lozinski finished 11th to lead the Canby competitors, while teammates Cole Regnier and Leah Polejewski finished 20th and 157th.

Westbrook-Walnut Grove was second place in the poultry competition, trailing team champion Fulda by 40 points. Zuagpaj Her was the top individual in the competition, followed by teammates Cindy Lohre (16th), Seng Xiong (24th), Kaylee Mischke (36th) and Tessa Busswitz (49th).

Scott Lanoue was Tracy Area’s only poultry participant, finishing 10th as an individual, while RRC’s Austin Price was 14th.

The team of Joel Derickson, Thomas Blomgren and Carter Engen took first-place team honors for RRC in the soils category. Derickson was the high-scoring individual, while Andrew Hansen, who was on RRC’s second team, placed third. Blomgren was 10th overall.

Tracy Area’s Asa Nelson finished 15th as an individual and led his team to a 25th-place showing.

Minneota did well in the dairy cattle competition, claiming 10th-place honors in the 61-team competition. Garrett Moorse led Minneota with a 25th-place score individually, while Gared Moorse was 37th and Jack Buysse was 79th.

“Students will get their scores back and then they can see how they did,” Kaare said. “There’s a learning experience there. (By being classified as gold, silver or bronze) they also have an idea of where they placed, whether it’s in the top third, middle third or bottom third.”