Veterinary Science Team Makes Nationals

The Veterinary Science team placed  first out of 1,600 Texan teams

The Veterinary Science team placed first out of 1,600 Texan teams

Sumerlyn Yudell, Social Media

Winning the state championship is a goal every team and club at Vandegrift has, fortunately, the FFA veterinary science team achieved this goal last April against 1,600 other vet science teams in Texas. The 2018 vet science team consist of seniors Zach Roush and Camille Barkhuizen, as well as juniors Madeleine Rawlings and Lauren Stevens; they are coached by the agricultural sciences teacher, Magan Escamilla.

“We were first out of 1600 teams in Texas, that was pretty crazy,” Roush said. “After we got the plaque, everyone was freaking out and half the team was crying.”

The title of state champions enables the team to travel to Indianapolis, Ind. the week of Oct. 23-27 to represent the state of Texas at the national FFA veterinary science competition to be held at the 91st national FFA convention. This team will be competing against the state champions of each state in the country at the national contest this October.

“Nationals is a different game,” Roush said. “What we are doing is going into a competition with all 50 states with a representative from each state, we are the Texas team.”

The vet science team will have to present a presentation over feline health, give their recommendations on what they would do for the patient as if they were part of a veterinary health care team based on the fear free principles. Team members will also perform eight skills practicums with four being clinical and the other four being handling/restraint in front of a panel of judges. The team has been practicing since early August for the national competition, starting at 7 a.m. twice a week, until school starts.

“This competition is a lot broader and instead of three events we had at the state competition, we have 32,” Roush said. “It’s a lot more memorization, and vet-related, industry related stuff such as news, team activities and team events.”

The contest will span over two days. There will be a banquet for awards on Oct. 27th during the competition weekend to recognize both individuals and teams for top honors and if victorious, the team will walk the national stage during the last convention session.

“The only downside to making it to nationals is you can’t compete in vet next year,” Barkhuizen said. “You have already technically mastered the skill, which sucks because it’s our favorite competitions.”

The 2017 Vandegrift FFA Vet Science team missed nationals by a single point last year so the team was able to come back stronger than ever for this years contest.

“Zach and Madeline were on this team last year, so they are a little bit more prepared for what’s to come and used to everything,” Barkhuizen said.

With the countless hours of practice, the team has become close as friends.

“I work well with my teammates,” Roush said. “It’s a very comedic group and we definitely get along very well.”

Before nationals the team went to 11 individual contests, along with area contest and the state contest.

“FFA has definitely given me guidelines and a path to follow with livestock and industry with the vet world.” Roush said.

Roush and Barkhuizen both said they owe part of their success to their teacher, Escamilla, and with this team not being able to return to this contest next year, they will take with them the information they learned and the hard work it took them to get here.

“They have the grit it takes to become future veterinarians and I’m confident we will see them do so,” Escamilla said.

Read about KVUE’s coverage of the team and how they are preparing for nationals: FFA veterinary science team to compete at nationals