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March 2017
UC Davis and West Hills College Field Day

Atwater FFA Earns Top Honors at UC Davis and West Hills College Field Days

Over 3300+ California high school agriculture students representing nearly 200 high schools throughout the state of California competed at the UC Davis and West Hills College FFA Field Days. The March 4th weekend jump started the 2017 FFA judging season where the Atwater FFA judging teams start anew with their sites toward the 2017 state championships in late April and early May. “We have an expanded number of skill-based Career Development Event (CDE) teams and a record number of students participating,” said Atwater FFA advisor and coach Dave Gossman.

The Atwater FFA Nursery and Landscape team earned a 1st place finish at UC Davis with Daryl Dorsey (1st overall), Jeff Clark (2nd overall), Dayana Argueta (3rd overall), and Amanjot Gandhoke leading the team as they demonstrated knowledge and skills in their plant identification, plant selection & evaluation, transplanting, and written exam on all aspects of horticulture and the horticulture industry.

The Atwater FFA Agronomy judging team earned an 1st  place team finish overall with a team consisting of Jasmine Flores (1st overall), Belinda Espinoza (2nd overall), Kelsi Kamesch, and Dillon Guillen. Other Atwater FFA members Luz Soto, Felicity Garcia, Jennifer Velazquez, and Vanessa Varela competed as a “B” Team. The Agronomy contest involves the study field crops and weeds with students responsible for the identification of nearly 200 crops and plants, seed, bean, and hay evaluation, and an oral presentation pertaining to their evaluations.

The Atwater FFA Poultry team earned a 2nd place finish overall at UC Davis. The team was led by Stephania Valdovinos (5th Overall), Briana Diaz, Sayra Ramos, and Ana Lozano. Other Atwater FFA members Alfredo Elizarrarraz and Emmanuel Mejia competed as alternates. The contest blends practical hands-on experiences with a basic knowledge of the poultry industry required for careers in the poultry field.

The Atwater FFA Floriculture team earned a 2nd  place team finish overall with Mai Yang Vang (3rd overall), Jasmine Sandoval, Liliana Varga, and Samantha Theodozio leading the team. The contest involves plant identification, arrangements, and floral skills. 

The Atwater FFA Land judging team earned a 2nd  place team finish overall at West Hills College and was led by Katelyn Baptista (1st Overall), Audrey Esau, Jose Ruiz, and Ethan Garcia. Michael Bray, Arturo Valdovinos and Jared Nickerson also competed on the “B” Team.   The contest involves the evaluation and interpretation of soils and soil profiles. Students analyze various soil pits and determine soil texture, water holding capacity, and erosion characteristics while associated the data with agriculture applications.

The Meats judging team earned a 3rd place finish overall with a team composed of Courtney Creighton, Emily Junez, Paige Brigham and Daisy Flores. Other Atwater FFA members Mikeal Duran, Mariah Castro Delgado, and Adaleena Oyervides competed as a “B” team. The Meats contest involves the evaluation of pork, beef, and lamb carcasses and retail cuts of meat commonly found in supermarkets, quality and yield grading, oral presentations on the meat/carcass evaluations, and a written exam pertaining to the meat industry.

The Atwater FFA Milks Quality and Dairy Foods team earned a 7th place team finish at UC Davis with Luke van Warmerdam, Kendyll Cruz, Odalys De la Torre, and Callie Norton leading the team as they demonstrated their knowledge and skills in milk quality (tasting), cheese identification, real vs imitation dairy foods, and a written exam on the dairy industry. Natalie Frontella and Natalie Guierrez also competed as alternates and finished in the top one third of the pack.

The Atwater FFA Small Engines team earned top finish at UC Davis with  Blake Brigham (7th overall), Josue Agundis, and Ricky Ortega leading the team. The contest challenges students with their skills and knowledge in small engine tool and part identification, engine theory, problem solving, and hands-on engine troubleshooting and repair.

Atwater FFA’s Novice Parliamentary Procedure team consisting of Alyssa Carrillo, Cristal Venegas, Michael Bray, Mariah Castro, Itzel Chavez, Vanessa Varela, and Emmanuel Mejia and the Atwater FFA Advanced Parliamentary Procedure team consisting of Daryl Dorsey, Dayana Argueta, Paige Brigham, Amajot Gandhoke, Jeff Clark, Callie Norton, and Courtney Creighton competed against a full field and earned a 7th overall finish as both teams continue to grow and develop their skills.

“The FFA judging  season is an opportunity for students to showcase their life, industry, critical thinking, and communication skills through hands-on, skill-based  applications among their peers from all over California at major colleges and state universities,” said Gossman. “Atwater High School continues to be a top contender and recognized throughout the state as a major player at the year’s competitions.” The competitions continue with Chico State University, Merced College, Modesto Junior College, Cosumnes River College, Reedley College, Fresno State University, and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo scheduled in the coming two months.

Audrey Esau
Atwater FFA Reporter