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K-State Today

April 7, 2016

Animal sciences and industry's Academic Quadrathalon team takes second in regional

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

A team of animal sciences and industry students from Kansas State University competed at the Midwest Regional Animal Sciences and Industry Academic Quadrathalon in Iowa over spring break, coming home as first runners-up.

The team was made up of four students in the College of Agriculture, all majoring in animal sciences and industry: Jill Holcomb, senior, Plevna; Steven Westrup, senior, Protection; Cami Roth, senior, Sterling; and Sydney Bigger, junior, Media, Illinois. This team is advised by Karol Fike, assistant professor of animal sciences and industry.

"The quadrathalon is a fun competition that allows animal science students to learn more about the industry and get to know each other," said Roth, who competed at last year's event as well.

Four events make up the quadrathalon: Lab practical, quiz bowl, written test and oral presentation. In each event, the four team members are allowed to work together and compile their knowledge to come up with the best results.

Before competing in Iowa, the team took on 12 other teams at the Kansas State University Animal Sciences and Industry Academic Quadrathalon, Feb. 22-25, winning the event. For the campus competition, all teams had two weeks to prepare for their 10-14 minute oral presentation and brush up on their knowledge.

Both Bigger and Holcomb enjoy the oral presentation portion of competition.

"We had a lot of fun preparing for it," Holcomb said. "My team is made up of some really great actors, and they were fantastic at answering all of the questions from the audience. Also, all of the information in our presentations gave me a better understanding of antibiotic resistance and the Veterinary Feed Directive."

"In this day and age, we have a lot of people sharing information, both correct and incorrect about the agriculture industry," Bigger said. "It is our duty, as agriculture industry advocates, to be able to sort through this information and share our story with consumers. Oral presentation gave us the opportunity to practice that in a fun, competitive setting."

Fifteen teams competed in the Iowa regional, including from Nebraska, Missouri, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia and Minnesota.

The first two events of the regional competition, oral presentation and lab practical, took place in Ames, Iowa.

The Kansas State University team took first in oral presentation.

"To me, that is evidence of ability to think quickly to organize a presentation in an hour, and then communicate to an audience in an entertaining and engaging way and with substance about a current challenge or issue facing animal agriculture," Fike said.

After Ames, the team moved on to Des Moines, to compete in the quiz bowl and written test portions of the competition.

"Competition was on another level there," Westrup said. "The specificity in the species was challenging, and I learned that there is a lot to learn."

The team placed first in written exam, third in quiz bowl and finished in the top 10 in the lab practical.

"It was incredibly humbling and a huge honor to be able to represent Kansas State University, and more specifically the animal sciences and industry department at the competition," Westrup said. "We are extremely blessed to be able to study under the teaching of instructors of the best animal sciences department in the country, and it was an honor to represent them."