Three years ago, students in the University of Delaware’s Animal Science Club came back from the North East Student Affiliate (NESA) competition without a single ribbon. This year, they came back with 27.
NESA, which is a part of the National Block and Bridle Club, sponsors the event in which students interested in animal science from schools across the northeast compete against each other in livestock judging, a quiz bowl and a paper presentation. This year, the competition took place at Rutgers University. Forty-five teams made up of 185 students from nine schools were present.
Nina Lee, a senior in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and president of the Animal Science Club, said club members worked incredibly hard this year and saw their efforts rewarded.
She also noted how great it was to see the younger students in the club “get so excited and involved in the competition. I hope to come back as an alumnus and see Animal Science Club continue their involvement with NESA livestock judging, quiz bowl, and paper presentations.”
After having a team place 10th in the quiz bowl portion of the competition last year, the 2013 UD Team C broke through the field this year and brought home a first place ribbon.
Laura Nemec, laboratory coordinator in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences and the club adviser who went with the group to the competition, said that UD teams were organized such that a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior were on each. The thinking behind the decision was to have strong teams across the board rather than just one team stacked with seniors.
“The team included students who just completed the Introduction to Animal Science course and have all that general knowledge really fresh in their minds through seniors who have taken the more in-depth courses such as physiology and anatomy. That way, no matter what type of questions they were asked, hopefully they had someone on their team who knew the answer,” Nemec explained.
The strategy paid off and Team C defeated a team from Penn State University in the finals and earned first place in the quiz bowl, a title that Penn State has held for quite some time. “Since I began attending these competitions, it has always been Penn State vs. Penn State in the final round. So to even have a team other than Penn State up there on the stage was phenomenal and for it to be Delaware blew my mind. I could not be more proud of these students,” said Nemec.
Team D also did well in the quiz bowl portion of the competition, finishing in fifth place.
UD did well in the livestock judging portion of the competition as well, with Team C winning first place Team D finishing seventh.
Club members attributed their success to the hard work put in by the team, as well as the lessons learned during Saturday practice sessions led by Richard Morris, UD’s dairy manager, and Brandon Gouge.
“Richard did this for us last year and he did it again this year,” explained Nemec. “He took a weekend out when he was working and came in early on a Saturday. He went through, really thoroughly, how to judge both heifers and dairy cows.”
She added that Gouge, who shows sheep professionally, helped them when it came to judging sheep. “He actually came in and spoke to the Animal Science Club the Wednesday before we left about the specific breed of sheep which is Tunis, and what their characteristics are and how to judge them. Those two really went out of their way to help.”
Stephanie Shapiro, a senior in CANR, echoed these sentiments, saying, “While the livestock judging was something completely foreign to me, I think the mini crash course the Animal Science Club gave really helped us all do surprisingly well.”
Shapiro said that she loved the quiz bowl portion of the event and that she was glad to attend NESA during her final year at UD, saying she’d recommend it to others.
Individual accolades were doled out during the competition, as well, with Rebecca Radisic, a junior in CANR from Team A taking home first place as an individual in livestock judging and JoAna Morales of Team C receiving third place in livestock judging.
Of the award, Morales said, “It was an amazing experience coming in as a freshman and actually winning a ribbon. I was able to learn to judge livestock, have fun in the quiz bowl and have a story to tell.”
When it came time to hand out the overall rankings for each school, UD finished in third place. Next year the event will be held at the University of Massachusetts. Students in Animal Science Club are already looking forward to next year and getting an even better jump on preparation.
Article by Adam Thomas
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