Nebraska's 4-H Horticulture Team and Honors Division individual placed at the National Horticulture Contest. The contest was held in Lincoln, Nebraska on October 12, 2019. The four-person team placed fourth overall. Each individual also placed in the top 20, with one team member placing in the top 10. The team, coached by Elizabeth Killinger, Nebraska Extension Educator, consisted of:
- Josiah Ketelsen, Boone County
- Grace Cruise, Dodge County
- Sawyer Kappel, Colfax County
- Jeffrey Lohse, Gage County
The competition included eight sets of judging, an 80 question test, and identification of 100 horticulture specimens such as weeds, twigs, leaves, fruit, flowers, and underground structures. Lohse placed sixth individually overall. Cruise placed 12th, Kappel placed 13th, while Ketelsen placed 18th overall. Together, the four-person team placed fourth.
Members of the team and individuals that placed 1st previously at Nationals are invited back to participate in the Honor's Division. Erik Henry of Omaha was a member of the Nebraska 2017 National Champion Horticulture Team. This year, he participated as an individual in the Honor's Division at Nationals and had to identify 25 additional samples that were more challening. Henry placed 5th in the Honors Division.
"I'm extremely proud," Killinger said. "They worked hard and it all paid off."
The team held practice on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln campuses to prepare for the contest. The students brough plant specimens to examine and identify, and Killinger also collected some for the team.
The Nebraska 4-H Foundation also contributed to the team, helping to defray travel costs for the members.
The 2020 contest will be October 9 in Wilmington, DE.