The Hilmar FFA Dairy Cattle and Dairy Foods judging teams represented California at the National FFA contests this October in Indianapolis, Ind. The national contests were held in conjunction with the annual National FFA Convention.
The Dairy Cattle Judging team placed fourth overall in the nation with 42 states competing and 166 contestants. The four members and their individual placings were: Randy Edwards – 10th, Brian Lopes – 12th, Clinton Lundell – 30th and Anton Fernandes – 40th. Edwards is a senior and serves on the Hilmar FFA officer team as sentinel. Lopes is now attending Modesto Junior College pursuing a degree in Dairy Science. Lundell is now attending Merced College and pursuing a degree in the ag industry. Fernandes is a junior and serves on the Hilmar FFA officer team as reporter.
The Dairy Cattle team is coached by Marc Coleman, who has been teaching in the Agriculture Department at Hilmar High School for the last 22 years. Coleman has had eight State Championship teams in Dairy Cattle Judging and two National Championships.
The Dairy Cattle team also traveled to the World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin two weeks prior to National Finals. This trip was instrumental in helping the team prepare for National Finals. It gave the team members an opportunity to see some of the best dairy cattle in the world and work on their evaluation skills.
The Dairy Foods team placed 3rd in the nation competing against 37 other states and 152 competitors. The four members and their individual placings were: Anthony Drumonde – 9th, Trey Johnston – 11th, Marissa Bettencourt – 18th and Mandi Telford – 34th. Drumonde is a senior and serves as second vice-president on the Hilmar FFA Officer Team. Johnston is a sophomore and serves as treasurer on the Hilmar FFA Officer Team; Bettencourt is a senior at Hilmar High School and Telford graduated in June and is attending junior college pursuing a degree in education.
The Dairy Foods team is coached by Monique Reid, who has been teaching in the Hilmar High School Ag Department for 14 years. This is Reid’s second State Champion Team. Her 2009 team placed fourth at the national competition.
Both teams worked hard during the year to develop their skills and become as competitive as they could. After winning the state competition, they put many hours of practice in during the summer and into the fall to prepare for the competition they would face at nationals. After all that work, both teams were happy to have done so well.
The coaches, team members and Hilmar High School Ag Department would like to send a special thank you out to the community for its support. Many people and businesses in Hilmar and the surrounding areas helped these teams reach their goals. Financially, enough money was donated to send both of the teams on their cross country trips. The coaches utilized community members for their expertise in areas that they needed help in. An endeavor such as this also required a school district that will support the efforts of the Ag Department to develop students to the best of their abilities.