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UMC Agriculture Team Takes First Place in National Competition
May 5, 2006

Krista Lemos, director of communications, 218-281-8438 (
Brent Sorenson, agricultural business assistant professor, 218-281-8138 (

CROOKSTON, MN (May 5, 2006) – Agriculture students and faculty from the University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC) came out on top at the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) competition this year, taking home the Sweepstakes Award. UMC teams competed in specific categories and earned the most points overall in the division for four-year colleges and universities.

Some 30 UMC students along with faculty coaches and advisors traveled to Macomb, IL, to participate in the annual competition. Contest categories covered livestock, dairy, soils, crops, horticulture, general knowledge, business, equine and mechanics. In some competitions, participants were rated on their ability to judge resources in their field of study; in others, students were tested on their knowledge of the field.

Students competed with participants from many other universities including Fort Hays State University, Iowa State University, University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin - Platteville, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, West Texas A & M University, Purdue University, and Northwest Missouri State University.

UMC has won the NACTA Sweepstakes Award 11 times in the last two decades.

UMC team winners by category include:

Livestock – coaches Pat Enger, Mayville, ND; and Jessica Robinson, Redwood, MN; and team members Heather Cuypers, Litchville, ND; Gretchen Smeby, Grygla, MN; Kyle Severance, Waterbury Center, VT; and Britney Thronson, Halstad, MN.

Soils – coaches Associate Professor Bobby Holder and Alison Stone, Lakeville, MN; and team members Tom Barrett, East Grand Forks, MN; Tim Caillier, Crookston, MN; Kyle Erickson, Duluth, MN; and Wade Peterson, East Grand Forks, MN.

Agriculture Business – coach Assistant Professor Brent Sorenson; and team members Kim Huttunen, Sebeka, MN; Rob Proulx, Crookston MN; Alison Stone, Lakeville MN; and Chris Zellmer, Oakdale, CA.

Agriculture Mechanics – coach Assistant Professor Paul Aakre; and team members Mark Berglund, Dawson, MN; Blake Smith, Mentor, MN; Brian Shaw, Ulen, MN; Casey Sondeland, Edinburg, ND; and Pat Stansbery, Sheldon, ND.

Equine – coach Corey Ramsden, Sisseton, SD; and team members Sheena Engelbert, Bruce Crossing, MI; Anna Laakko, Houghton, MI; and Courtney Sonnek, Minnesota Lake, MN.

Dairy – coach Associate Professor Lyle Westrom; and team members Austin Aasness, Fergus Falls, MN; Jessica Beach, Sebeka, MN; Kari Hendrickx, New York Mills, MN; and Craig Roerick, Upsula, MN.

Crops – coach Associate Professor Chuck Habstritt; and team members Ryan Dunham, Wannaska, MN; Aaron Knoll, Warren, MN; Dan Pazdernik, Waubun, MN; and Amy Schwartz, Monticello, MN.

Quiz Bowl – coach Associate Professor Harouna Maiga; and team members Ryan Dunham; Craig Roerick; Dan Pazdernik; and Brian Shaw.

The University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC) is a four-year baccalaureate degree granting institution, dedicated to learning, discover and engagement in the northwest region. To learn more, visit