Penn State Turf Students Place 2nd in National Competition

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STMA2013.jpgEleven students from Penn State's turfgrass science program competed in the Sports Turf Managers Student Challenge on January 18. Support for the students travel came from the Pa. Turf Council,the Keystone Athletic Field Managers Organization and Hunter Industries Inc. The students took a comprehensive exam covering the management of athletic fields and including topics such as turfgrass biology, soil science, disease and insect pests, and synthetic turf. Over 40 teams from colleges and universities competed in the Student Challenge.

The competition was held in Daytona Beach, FL at STMA's annual conference. The STMA conference draws together hundreds of sports field managers from the highest levels of professional baseball, football, and soccer. It also attracts academics, vendors, and students. By competing in the Student Challenge, the Penn State students received free conference registration and the opportunity to network with hundreds of potential future employers.

Will McNeal, Matt Harvey, Tyler Patton, and Stephen King, Jr. are seniors in the Turfgrass Science major and placed second in the Student Challenge's 4-year division. Ben Burrill, Keenan Lilyquist, and Aaron Archambault are pursuing certificates in Penn State's two-year Golf Course Management program. They competed in the two-year division and placed third. A third Penn State team - Ben Gotwalt, Mike Scheyd, Todd Pully, and Jacob Leadbetter - also competed in the 4-year division.

In addition, Leadbetter was honored at the conference for earning a scholarship from STMA's charity, The Foundation for Safer Athletic Fields for Everyone (SAFE). Scholarships are awarded by SAFE to students who are models in the classroom and community, and who have furthered the turf management industry through leadership and service.

Evan Mascitte, M.S. Candidate Turfgrass Science

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