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Source: Kevin Donnelly, 785-532-5402,
Photos available. Contact or 785-532-6415.
News release prepared by: Steve Watson, 785-532-7105,

Monday, Nov. 30, 2009


MANHATTAN -- The Kansas State University Crops Team has again claimed the title as national champion, a feat that K-State teams have accomplished in eight of the last 11 years.

The team won both the Kansas City Board of Trade and Chicago CME Group Collegiate Crops contests to win the 2009 national championship. K-State placed first at both Kansas City and Chicago in all three phases of the contest: plant and seed identification, grain grading and seed analysis.

Such a sweep of all three contest parts at both contests is a very rare event and represents one of the top rankings ever accomplished by a K-State team, according to Kevin Donnelly, K-State professor of agronomy and team coach. The Kansas City and Chicago contests took place Nov. 17 and 21, respectively.

In both contests, participants are required to identify 200 different plant or seed samples of crops and weeds; grade eight different samples of grain according to Federal Grain Inspection Service standards; and analyze 10 seed samples to determine whether they contain impurities, and if so, what the contaminants are.

For its performance, K-State received a team scholarship award from contest sponsors at Kansas City, and CME Group provided major scholarships to the individual student winners at Chicago.

Members of the K-State Crops Team and competition results, if earned, include:

* Bryson Haverkamp, sophomore in agronomy, Bern, placed second overall at Kansas City, which included tying for first, with a perfect score, in grain grading, and finishing third in both identification and seed analysis. At Chicago, he placed third overall, which included finishing second in identification and grain grading, and fourth in seed analysis.

* Jared Kohls, sophomore in agronomy and agricultural economics, Clearwater, was the high individual overall at Kansas City where he placed first in plant and seed identification, first in seed analysis, and tied for first in grain grading with a perfect score. At Chicago, he was second high individual overall, first in identification, third in seed analysis, and fourth in grain grading. He missed only one sample out of 200 in the identification category.

* Kelly Yunghans, junior in agronomy, Leavenworth, was the high individual overall at Chicago, placing first in seed analysis with a score of 594 out of 600, and third in both grain grading and identification. At Kansas City, she tied for third overall, and placed third in grain grading, tied for third in identification and was fifth in seed analysis.

* Ben Meyer, sophomore in agronomy, Linn, competed as an alternate at the Kansas City contest.

* Jared Unrau, senior in agricultural technology management, Newton, competed as the first alternate for both contests. His scores at Chicago were equivalent to fifth overall and third in identification, and at Kansas City he would have placed sixth overall.

* Nathan Keep, senior in agronomy, Elm Creek, Neb., competed as an alternate the Kansas City contest.

Sponsors for the K-State Crops Team include the Kansas Seed Industry Association, Kansas Crop Improvement Association, K-State department of agronomy and the K-State Student Governing Association. Sponsors for the two national contests are the Kansas City Board of Trade, CME Group/Chicago Board of Trade, CHS Foundation, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Growmark Cooperative, Society of Commercial Seed Technologists, Association of Official Seed Analysts, South Dakota Crop Improvement Association, American Royal and Pioneer Hi-Bred International.