The 1,350-mile round trip to Springfield, Massachusetts was certainly worth it for Carroll County High School’s FFA Forestry Team.
Competing against teams from Ohio, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Virginia, Carroll County took first place in Forestry in the Eastern Region at the Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts on Sept. 13-14.
Carroll County did so well, all four of its Forestry team members placed in the top nine individually. Jared Boyd finished second, Cole Davis was third, Michael Largen was eighth and Greg Hickerson finished ninth. Ohio was the only other state to finish with more than one individual in the top nine, with two, while Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Hampshire each had one in the top nine.
“That’s pretty impressive. I was pleased with them,” said CCHS FFA Advisor Alan Webb. “It gave them an opportunity to get some recognition on a more national level. This bunch of kids has the ability to win the state, but you just never know if they are going to be able to win it or not. So to take opportunities like this and capitalize on them, every little bit gives us more practice and hopefully a little more motivation.”
The Eastern States Exposition is a state fair for all of the New England states, Webb said. Since most of them are fairly small states, New England combines state fairs for its states. In recent years, Virginia has started participating in State Career Development events. The first-place team goes on to nationals, while the second-place team is eligible to compete in the Eastern States Exposition. Carroll qualified for the Eastern States Exposition by placing second in the state in May, Webb said.
“These kids are all seniors now, so they have the chance to try to win the state this year if they win the contest leading up to that,” Webb said.
At the Eastern States Exposition, forestry teams were judged on tree identification, a general knowledge exam, wood products identification and forest tools identification, among others. The Carroll County team left CCHS on a bus at 6 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12 and did not return home until 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15.
“It takes a lot of you, but it was a rewarding experience,” Webb said.