Happy in Happy Valley

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GCSAA 2014 President Keith Ihms, CGCS (left), and David Plaster, North American sales manager, John Deere Golf (second from right), present the Turf Bowl’s top prize to Penn State students (left to right) Alexander Bonini, Kyle Patterson, Bill Ellinger and Chris Marra and their advisor, Dr. Ben McGraw (far right).
Officially, The Pennsylvania State University is located in State College, Pa., but, to many, Penn State is in Happy Valley. For the university’s turf club, on the final evening of the Golf Industry Show, Happy Valley was in San Antonio, Texas. At the GIS Closing Celebration, Penn State students learned they had won GCSAA’s Annual Collegiate Turf Bowl competition, presented in partnership with John Deere Golf. In addition, they had also taken third and ninth place, and their fourth team came in at a not-too-shabby 13 out of 69 teams made up of 252 students from 33 different schools.
Texas has been good to Penn State. The last time the school took first place in the Turf Bowl was in Dallas in 2001. In the early years before team competition, Penn State garnered first place in 1998 and second place in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Since that time, the school has appeared frequently in the top 10, but the top prize had eluded them for 14 years. Only Iowa State in 2006 and Purdue in 2009 have duplicated Penn State’s feat of winning first place and taking two additional spots in the top 10.
The advisor to Penn State’s team is new faculty member and associate professor of turfgrass science Ben McGraw, Ph.D., an entomologist who came to State College in August 2014.
“These kids blow me away with their ability in the classroom,” he says.
The secret to taking the Turf Bowl by storm? “The moons aligned,” says McGraw. “Basically, we have some really, really smart students. If you can recruit super-intelligent kids who will work really hard, they can win.”
With three teams in the top 10, the students pocketed $5,300, which their advisor says will go toward speakers for the turf club and, possibly, a trip or trips for the students.
McGraw confesses to having had a serious case of nerves when the winning teams were being announced. “I was way more nervous than any of the students. It’s like the birth of your kids. As a dad, you can’t do anything, you can’t have the baby. As their advisor, you can’t take the test for them. I wanted the win for them — not for the glory, but because they had worked so hard. It’s all them.” The members of the winning team are Chris Marra, William Ellinger, Kyle Patterson and Alexander Bonini. Besides basking in the glory, taking home the traveling Turf Bowl trophy and earning cash for their turf club, the students will have an opportunity to volunteer at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in May.
2nd: $2,000. Team 57, University of Maryland
Scott Hebert, Brian Hogan, Jimmy Halley, Ryan Higgins, Advisor: Dr. Kevin Mathias
3rd: $1,000. Team 37, Penn State University
Kirk Bender, Sean Kelly, Morgan Robins, Thomas Goyne, Advisor: Dr. Ben McGraw
4th: $800. Team 28, Michigan State University
Carlota Sánchez de Ocaña, Gerry Navarre, Shawn Haverdink, Andrés González- Onieva, Advisor: Dr. Thom Nikolai
5th: $700. Team 33, Iowa State University
Eric Langford, Matthew Porter, Eric Sellers, Zack Olinger, Advisor: Dr. Nick Christians
6th: $300. Team 34, Iowa State University
Desmond Decker, Conrad Pannkuk, Ryan May, Brandon Bousema, Advisor: Dr. Nick Christians
7th: $300. Team 12, Cal Poly Pomona
Oscar del Real, Raul Martinez, Tyler Harvey, Luellen Swayzer, Advisor: Dr. Kelly Parkins
8th: $300. Team 46, Purdue University
Cameron Rice, Jada Powlen, Matthew Dudley, Keegan Gray, Advisor: Dr. Cale Bigelow
9th: $300. Team 21, Penn State University
Cody Woods, Mason Kreider, Austin Marsteller, Matthew Herrmann, Advisor: Dr. Ben McGraw
10th: $300. Team 60, University of Arkansas
Warren Aubrey Gullette, Travis Russell, Chase Fuerst, Tyler Carr, Advisor: Dr. Doug Karcher
The University of Guelph won the GCSAA Collegiate Spirit Award and $500 by posting more than 2,200 tweets during the Turf Bowl Tweet Rally, Jan. 29-Feb. 25.Articl from : http://www.gcsaa.org/gcm-magazine/2015/april/gis-lights-up-san-antonio

Article From: http://www.gcsaa.org/gcm-magazine/2015/april/gis-lights-up-san-antonio

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