The Penn State Weed Science Team travels to the Midwest and defends its title!

The 2009 collegiate weed science contest was a combined venture between the Northeastern Weed Science Society (NEWSS) and North Central Weed Science Society (NCWSS). For the first time, it brought together the two societies to compete in a combined challenge. The contest was hosted by ABG Ag Services near Indianapolis, IN on July 23. All total, 31 undergraduates (nine teams) and 54 graduates (14 teams) competed from 11 universities. The NEWSS universities represented at the contest were Cornell, Guelph, Penn State, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech. The NCWSS universities represented at the contest were Illinois, Kansas State, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, and Ohio State. Penn State's team included seven students this year (see picture below). The graduate team included: Ryan Bates, Nelson DeBarros, Franklin Egan, and Ben Crockett; and the undergrad team included: Cory Chelko, Alicia Spangler, and Renae DiPierre. Dwight Lingenfelter again coached the team in preparation for this practical and exciting challenge. Students participated in four contest segments including: 1) weed identification; 2) sprayer application technology; 3) diagnosis and identification of herbicides by symptoms; and 4) problem solving and recommendations in a field setting (role-play event). The goal of the contest is to include "real-world" scenarios for experiential learning with a twist of fun. The weed science contest is open to graduate and undergraduate students interested in weed management in agroecology (agronomy), horticulture, turf, and natural areas.

Results: Of the 14 graduate teams in the contest, not only did Penn State claim 1st place in the Northeast region for the second consecutive year but it also won the coveted "Golden Hoe" trophy which was given to the Grand Champion team of the entire contest. Individually, Nelson DeBarros won 2nd place and Ryan Bates took 3rd place of all NEWSS contestants across the four events. Though none of our undergrads placed in the top three, they still had a valuable learning experience. Within the specific events: Ryan Bates had the highest score on one of the field problem solving events; Nelson DeBarros placed first in the handson sprayer calibration event; Ben Crockett got the highest score on the written-problem portion of sprayer calibration; and Cory Chelko was high scorer on weed ID and hands-on sprayer calibration.

Submitted by Dwight Lingenfelter


Penn State Wins ---

1st place - NEWSS Grad Team and overall Grand Champions


Nelson Debarros - 2nd place Graduate

Ryan Bates - 3rd place Graduate