Four seniors from the University of Minnesota Crookston took home top honors over the weekend at the Mid-American Horticultural Society (MACHS) competition at the University of Wisconsin River Falls. The horticulture majors making up the first place team included Catlin Kersting, Cloquet, Minn.; Ashlynn Hartung, Lindstrom, Minn.; Mitchell Sledge, Saint Louis Park, Minn.; and Tim Staudahar, Hibbing, Minn. The UM Crookston team finished in first place overall followed by Iowa State University in second and Colorado State University in third. The coach for the U of M Crookston is Theresa Helgeson.
The teams competed in four categories with a total of 200 points each for a total of 800 points overall. The categories were General Knowledge; Judging in both fruit and vegetable classes and nursery and floriculture classes; Herbaceous Identification and Woody Identification.
In the contest for herbaceous identification Staudahar tied for first place and Hartung tied for second. In Woody Identification Hartung took first and Staudahar took second and the two finished in first and second place respectively in Overall Individual.
Juniors Ashley Radke, Grand Forks, N.D.; and Sarah Lanners, Nashwauk, Minn.; and Senior Amanda Thompson, Pine River, Minn., also competed as individuals. Lanners finished third in the Herbaceous Identification contest.
The competition, which takes place during the MACHS annual conference, provides a means of communication between horticulture clubs of participating schools. This year marked the 41st annual conference of the organization. Sharing knowledge and ideas is an important part of the gathering. The MACHS competition includes collegiate horticulture clubs from 12 Mid-American states.
Keynote speaker at the conference was Mike Yanny, senior horticulturalist from Menomonee Falls, Wis. The conference offered students the opportunity to participate in educational tours of the Gertens Garden Center in Inver Grove Heights, Minn.; Bailey’s Nursery in Newport, Minn.; St. Croix Valley Tree Farm in Sommerset, Wis.; A Future Farm and The Orchard in Baldwin, Wis.; and Wouterina de Raad’s Garden Tour in Beldenville, Wis.
In the photo: Back row, left to right, are Sarah Lanners, Mitch Sledge, Tim Staudahar, Catlin Kersting, Ashley Radke, Ashlynn Hartung. In the front: Coach Theresa Helgeson and Amanda Thompson