THE GOSHEN NEWS
After a one-year hiatus with the county title in the hands of Prairie Heights, Westview High School has re-captured the annual 4-H/FFA Soil Evaluation competition that pits 4-H and FFA teams from Westview, Lakeland and Prairie Heights.
This year’s competition was conducted Sept. 26 on a Farm Near David Rogers Park in Springfield Township. Led by defending champion Reed Oesch, Westview took both individual and team honors.
Coached by agriculture instructor Paul Baker, the Westview FFA winning team consisted of Reed Oesch, Colton Feller, Damon Herschberger and Maddie Jones. A Prairie Heights team coached by Ron Noll and Ben Leu and led in scoring by Brandon Oster finished second. A second Westview team, led in scoring by Nic Yoder, took third, and a Lakeland FFA team coached by Katie Allen led in scoring by Adam Handshoe placed fourth and received the final area soils qualifying spot.
Westview dominated the Junior Division, taking the first 18 team places. Its winning squad accumulated 962 points to actually finish first in the overall competition of both divisions. Mattew Frey led the Warriors to first with his fellow team mates Matt Schwartzentruber, Dale Yoder and Jason Bontrager. The second-place team consisted of Michael Bontrager, Kevin Schlabach, Dorene Miller and Erik Yoder. Prairie Heights fielded teams in both divisions. Lauren McCollom was the top Panther in the Junior Division.
The top four senior teams, as well as the two high scoring junior teams, advanced to this year’s area competition Saturday in Allen County. There, the high school team was 10th out of 13 teams. The third-place county team won the Area Contest and the first-place county team was second. The state contest will take place in Miami County Oct. 26.
About soil judging
Soils judging competition is one of several Career Development Events offered to participants in 4-H and FFA programs, and tests students’ ability to determine soil types, land formations, moisture, texture and soil’s capability for use in housing sites, as well as its agricultural potential.
The LaGrange County contest is a cooperative venture among the county high schools’ agriculture instructors and staffs of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service and LaGrange County Soil & Water Conservation District along with local property owners who provide land access and excavation authorization. Organizers for the event included: Martin Franke (SWCD) and John Emerson (Purdue Extension) with soil assessment by Extension’s Steve Engleking and excavation service provided by Bob Cart.