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FFA wins competitions

Madeline Smyser, Staff Reporter

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FFA competed in several contests, including the Jersey Village Vet Tech Invitational, the East Central Invitational, and the San Antonio Rodeo Livestock Judging Competition on Feb. 25. The teams all had success, winning several top five and top ten spots.

“It feels good [to have been so successful],” FFA sponsor Magan Escamilla said. “I have six students that are training for the vet science team right now, three seniors and three underclassmen. To have the seniors and the underclassmen performing at the same level is awesome. Our team performs really well together because they help each other out during practice and are just a really cohesive group and they’re all brilliant. They are easy to work with, they have a lot of drive and determination and that’s what it takes to be able to advance in something like this.”

The Jersey Village Vet Tech Invitational is one of several competitions that FFA’s vet science team will attend. They won second place overall, out of 35 other teams. They also had three students rank in the top 10 individuals: Madeleine Rawlings in ninth place, Tori Maher in sixth place, and Julia Tate in third place.

“Vet tech is a contest where we have to ID different breeds, parasites, organs and instruments,” senior Julia Tate said. “We also have to perform a practicum skill that has to do with being a vet assistant or a vet tech and then take a test that is fifty questions out of a test bank of 278 questions. We have different list of things that we’re required to know, and then they quiz us over 25 of each category.”

The participants can be shown any animal from a list of over 100, the different versions of 30 to 40 parasites, 12 to 14 organs from different animals, and over 100 veterinary instruments and are expected to identify them. Julia Tate describes the immense amount of work she put it.

“I did a lot of studying! A lot of flash cards, a lot of time looking at Quizlet, learning the different things, going to a clinic to look at the instruments, looking at the breeds in our barn, looking at the livestock there,” she said. I work at a clinic, so it really helps to get that actual knowledge from the vets there.”

At the same time, another FFA team was competing in the East Central Invitational, a livestock judging contest in which students must rank four animals from one to four, based on what they value in a livestock animal.

“I enjoy [competing] because it’s kind of like figuring out a puzzle,” senior Trevor Gotcher said. “There’s no black and white, it’s not necessarily that one thing is the right answer and another thing is the wrong answer. You have to decide what you like in an animal and then rank them one through four, which one you think is the best or worst.”

The livestock judging team was also very successful, with the team placing 20th out of 84. Both Paige Williams and Trevor Gotcher won individual awards in the top five in the questions portion and beef cattle judging portion respectively.

“I was actually kinda surprised [to win fourth place],” Gotcher said. “They normally don’t do a best out of cattle, best out of lambs or best out of goats. This is the one competition that we go to that does do that. It was really cool that I got fourth place out of so many kids. I had a really good day with the cattle and it was a really cool honor.”

The third and final competition that FFA sent students to on Saturday was the San Antonio Rodeo Livestock Judging Competition. This team was just as noteworthy as the previous two, taking home a team win of 37th place out of 222. Senior Erin Fashenpour made FFA history by placing fifth out of 758 students.

“I was shocked,” Fashenpour said. “My score was really good, so they wanted to stay, just to see what would happen. I thought I was going to get tenth, or eighth with the score I had calculated. They called the first ten people up, so I was just waiting for them to say my name and tell me what place I got, but they just kept going and going and I got fifth. There were over 750 kids and San Antonio is a pretty hard competition, so I was in shock. It was awesome and I was really proud of myself.”

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The online student newspaper of Vandegrift High School
FFA wins competitions