|L to R: Neiva Martinez, Casey Woodall, Tyler Shannon, Kaity Bevenor, |
Brittany Etnyre, Alaxandra Trofimov
Just don’t call it beginner’s luck.
Students from Cuyamaca College’s Ornamental Horticulture program finished among the top of the class during the school’s inaugural foray at the National Collegiate Landscape Competition – a March 15-18 event involving some of the leading universities in the country.
“Our students were unreal,” said Donald Schultz, Program Coordinator of the Ornamental Horticulture program at Cuyamaca College. “We had several major industry sponsors and officials, along with an official from a college in Mississippi, congratulating us on what they said was truly an amazing accomplishment for such a small school taking part in its first national competition like this.”
The National Collegiate Landscape Competition, sponsored by the National Association of Landscape Professionals, includes a tournament and networking opportunities for students enrolled in landscape and horticulture programs at colleges and universities across the country. The competition, held this year at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, also offers industry representatives from some of the field’s leading companies the opportunity to meet and recruit next-generation landscape industry superstars.
More than 750 students from 61 colleges and universities took part in the event, with competitors coming from such schools as Michigan State, Colorado State and Virginia Tech universities. Cuyamaca College was among the smallest colleges and universities that took part.
The National Collegiate Landscape Competition includes 29 different categories, ranging from Arboriculture Techniques to Wood Construction, with judging conducted by industry professionals. Cuyamaca College student Alexandra Trofimov finished second out of 44 competitors in the Exterior Landscape Design contest, and teammates Tyler Shannon and Neiva Martinez finished a close second out of 42 competitors in the Irrigation Assembly contest.
Shannon and Brittany Etnyre finished third out of 15 competitors in the Irrigation Troubleshooting competition. Casey Woodall came in fifth in the Business Management competition; Trofimov finished in fifth in the 3D Exterior Landscape Design contest; and Kaity Bevenour came in sixth place in the Plant Problem Diagnosis competition.
“Cuyamaca College has a great Ornamental Horticulture program, and these students did just an outstanding job at the National Collegiate Landscape Competition,” said Lynda Whiteman, a former Ornamental Horticulture student who now serves as industry relations manager at Hunter Industries, a leading manufacturer of irrigation equipment for the landscaping and golf course industries that is based in San Marcos. “They are one of the very few schools in the United States that has a dedicated irrigation program, and the quality of that program showed at the competition.”
Schultz and instructor Tiffany Faulstich drove the students to the competition, which was in part aimed at increasing Cuyamaca College’s visibility to landscape industry leaders across the country.
Cuyamaca College’s Ornamental Horticulture program teaches and builds upon skills for students interested in careers in urban forestry and tree care, landscape design and construction, grounds management, retail and wholesale nursery operations, irrigation technology, golf and sports turf management, and more. The program works closely with industry leaders in the region, providing students with networking opportunities unavailable elsewhere.