Kansas team wins weed science contest

The Kansas State University team taking top honors at the North American Weed Science Contest includes Jessica Schauf, left, Megan Workman, Dakota Came and Hayden Heigele.

More than 240 students from 29 universities tested their mettle during the recent 2019 North American Weed Science Contest in Illinois, and the Kansas State University took top honors.

Competing at the undergraduate level, team members included Dakota Came, Hayden Heigele, Jessica Schauf and Megan Workman. .

The students competed in multiple events – from identifying weeds to solving complex weed management challenges faced by farmers and land managers.

“It was a great educational experience that offered students a chance to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom and to network with some of the top talent working in weed science today,” said Dawn Refsell, a Valent field development manager who helped organize the event.

In addition to honoring the best overall performances by individuals and teams, regional awards were presented to top-performing students from four weed science societies.

The North Central Weed Science Society honored a graduate-level team from Purdue University (with members Jesse Haarmann, Matt Osterholt, Nick Steppig and Marcelo Zimmer), while the undergraduate Kansas State University team that placed first in the overall competition also took top honors in the region.

Individual regional winners with the best overall scores were Nick Steppig of Purdue University (graduate level) and Dakota Came of Kansas State University (undergraduate level).

In the Western Society of Weed Science regional competition, a graduate-level team from Kansas State University took top honors (with members Lindsey Gastler, Tyler Meyeres and Malynda O’Day). Hannah Kuhns, a graduate student at the University of Wyoming, took top honors at the individual level.