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K-State Crops Team Claims Third Straight National Championship

Posted on Dec. 6th, 2011
Story by: Steve Watson
K-State Research & Extension N
MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State University Crops Team has captured the title of national champion for the third year in a row. K-State teams have now won the championship in 10 of the past 13 years.

To win the 2011 national championship, the team won both the Kansas City Board of Trade and Chicago CME Group Collegiate Crops Contests. K-State placed first at both contests in the plant and seed identification and seed analysis components of the competition. The team was first in Chicago and second in Kansas City in the grain grading component. The Kansas City and Chicago contests took place on November 15 and 19, respectively.

Students competing at both contests included Scott Henry, senior, Goff; Levi Larkins, senior, Belvue; Chelsea Ahlquist, sophomore, Onaga; and Kim Kerschen, senior, Garden Plain, who was the alternate. Also competing as alternates in Kansas City were Michael Welch, sophomore, Haddam; Andrew Scherrer, sophomore, Matheson, Colo.; Neal Kaiser, sophomore, Lehigh; and Hannah Christen, junior, Oregon, Ill. All are agronomy majors at K-State.

In these contests, participants are required to identify 200 different plant or seed samples of crops and weeds; grade eight different samples of grain according to Federal Grain Inspection Service standards; and analyze ten seed samples to determine what contaminants they contain.

Chelsea Ahlquist was the high individual overall in Chicago, where she placed first in seed analysis, second in grain grading, and third in plant and seed identification. At Kansas City, she was the second high individual overall, first in grain grading, second in plant and seed identification, fourth in seed analysis.

Scott Henry was the high individual overall in Kansas City, and second overall in Chicago. At Kansas City, he was second in both seed analysis and grain grading, and third in plant and seed identification. At Chicago he placed first in grain grading, second in plant and seed identification, and fourth in seed analysis.

Levi Larkins placed fourth overall in Chicago and fifth in Kansas City. He took first place in both contests in plant and seed identification, second in seed analysis in Kansas City and fourth in grain grading in Chicago.

The team was coached by Kevin Donnelly, K-State professor of agronomy.

For its performance, K-State received a team scholarship award from contest sponsors at Kansas City. In addition, CME Group provided major scholarships to the top five students at Chicago.

Sponsors for the K-State Crops Team include the Kansas Crop Improvement Association, Kansas Seed Industry Association, Department of Agronomy, and the K-State Student Government Association. Sponsors for the two national contests are the Kansas City Board of Trade, CME Group/Chicago Board of Trade, CHS Foundation, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Growmark Cooperative, Society of Commercial Seed Technologists, Association of Official Seed Analysts, South Dakota Crop Improvement Association, The American Royal, and Pioneer Hi-Bred International.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.