Nebraska team takes fourth in Turf Bowl

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Fran tenBensel Benne | Agronomy and Horticulture

A University of Nebraska–Lincoln turfgrass competition team earned fourth place at the 27th Annual Collegiate Turf Bowl competition announced Feb. 4 by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. This is the highest finish in this contest for a Nebraska team since the Huskers placed eighth in 2017.

The competition, always a part of the GCSAA Golf Industry Show, was conducted virtually for the first time. Twenty-six teams, composed of 87 students from across North America, competed in the event.

Turfgrass and landscape management majors Cole McClurg, a junior, and Jacob Ocholik, a sophomore, made up the fourth-place team and was advised by Anne Streich, associate professor of practice in agronomy and horticulture.

“I’m pleased with how the students competed,” Streich said. “Most of our team members are very young, but they’ve had great internship experiences that have given them real-world opportunities to apply what they are learning and at the same time pick up knowledge outside the classroom.”

Seven students participated in the competition including turfgrass and landscape management majors Devon Wormuth, John Tines and Jack Graves; Eric Kovarik, a PGA golf management major with a TLMT minor; and Nicholas Olsufka, an agronomy major with a TLMT minor.

Many of the students took advantage of a prep course held during the January three-week session — Horticulture 396 Turf Competitions — taught by Streich. The class covered the identification of turfgrasses, diseases, insects and weeds. Students did turfgrass math for fertilizer, pesticides, water and topdressing. They also worked on the case study portion of the Turf Bowl competition.

The Turf Bowl consisted of two components, an exam and a case study. For the case study, each team was given a study guide that contained a problem to solve. Team members worked together to create a presentation that provided a solution. Each team had to submit a PowerPoint presentation by Jan. 11. The virtual exam was a timed exam using a GCSAA testing platform. While this was still a team event, each team member took the online exam Jan. 26. The scores from each team member were averaged to determine the team score for this portion of the competition.

Streich said she looks forward to the students competing in future events and participating in Turf Club so they can exchange ideas and learn more about turf, the environment and careers in the turfgrass industry.

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Cole McClurg (left) and Jacob Ocholik
Cole McClurg (left) and Jacob Ocholik