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Source: Kathy Brockway, 785-826-2695,
News release prepared by: Natalie Blair, 785-826-2642,

Friday, Oct. 30, 2009


SALINA -- Kansas State University at Salina's Students In Free Enterprise team is the grand champion of Southern Arkansas University's Walgreens Wrangle, besting seven other teams for the title.

The case competition that challenges students to solve a real-world business problem for a company was Oct. 22-24 in Magnolia, Ark. The K-State at Salina team's path to victory included a first-round win over a team from Texas A&M University.

Judges for the competition included faculty from Southern Arkansas, Walgreens employees, Students in Free Enterprise alumni and the owners of Lafayette Ag Supplies -- the company for which the teams designed the business plan for the competition.

K-State at Salina's Students in Free Enterprise team is unusual in that most of its members are majoring in engineering technology or aviation programs rather than in business programs.

"This was my first SIFE competition," said Oscar Rodriguez, a freshman in computer systems and networking, Garden City, and a new team member. "It was intense but I learned a lot from the competition."

Rodriguez wasn't the only novice on the team. Of the nine members who participated in the Arkansas competition, only two members had been to the Walgreens Wrangle before.

"It's cool to see how far our team has come in one semester," said Kristin Scheele, junior in digital media, Odell, Neb., and co-president of the K-State at Salina Students in Free Enterprise team. "To be named grand champion with so many new team members is an awesome feeling."

"I'm stoked that we beat West Texas A&M University, which has a SIFE team with more members than our campus has students," said Greg Mather, junior in information technology, Meade.

Kathy Brockway, associate professor of arts, sciences and business at K-State at Salina, is the Sam Walton Fellow for the Students in Free Enterprise team and accompanied the team to Arkansas.

Along with Mather, Rodriguez and Scheele, K-State at Salina Students in Free Enterprise team members competing at the Walgreens Wrangle included:

Cliff Kramer, junior in professional pilot, Goff; Samantha Scharff, senior in professional pilot, Halstead; Brandon Schmidt, senior in computer information technology and web development, Newton; and Christine McClure, freshman in technology-undecided, and Jacob Palmateer, senior in technology management, both from Salina.

From out of state: Brian Koester, senior in professional pilot, Ankeny, Iowa.