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home : news : news

12/19/2013 8:50:00 AM Email this articlePrint this article 
FFA teams take second and third places in state

Sebastian Moraga
Staff writer

Sometimes an apple is just an apple. That, however will never again be the case for a group of students at Cashmere High School.

Student teams from the school's Future Farmers of America chapter finished second and third in the FFA's state apple judging competition. Eighteen teams participated in state.

"We did really well," said Dani Kenoyer, whose team finished second.

Among individual participants, Kenoyer finished second and Bryan McNair placed third. Sam Copeland finished seventh, Taylor Bostwick finished eighth, Tarrah Te Velde finished ninth, Emma Hagen finished 14th and Tawnie Petterborg finished 19th

The competition yielded a killer line for the resume, three trophies, a little scholarship money for some, and the life sentence of never looking at an apple the same way.

"It's horrible," said Bostwick, a member of Cashmere FFA's Team 1, the squad that finished second. "You can't ever find any good apples, you know?"

Teammate Te Velde agreed.

"If you see any blemishes, you're like, 'Oh, that's a bug. I'm not going to eat that.'"

The competition included ranking apples from best to worst, identifying blemishes, identifying varieties, pressure-testing, and apple-grading.

Students prepared for weeks, going over the entire competition, practicing every aspect of it. Te Velde described it as the chapter's first serious competition of the year.

"So it's kind of a nice way to get back into FFA once school starts," she said.

Scores from district and practice performance determined who went to Team 1 and who went to Team 2.

Nick Brunner from Columbia Fruit and Neil Johnson from Northwest Wholesale provided the apples for the teams to practice on.

Team 2's Henry Cawood is the son of fruit farmers, so he brought some personal expertise to the event.

"I felt like I had a bit of a head start on some things, but I also learned a lot," he said. "There's also a lot of different varieties in this competition that aren't really around here. Around our valley there's a lot of the staple fruits like goldens and reds and Fujis, and there's a lot of apples I haven't really seen like honeycrisp and pink lady, stuff like that, so it's kind of cool."

Te Velde said her squad got pretty competitive at state, but being competitive is what makes it fun.

"We just have some people we just want to beat," she said. The FFA chapter's biggest rivals are its counterparts in Chelan and Wenatchee. Chelan teams finished fourth, and ninth. Wenatchee teams finished 10th and 12th.

Bostwick agreed with Te Velde.

"Anything you can be competitive in, I like," she said.

Unlike the meats competition, where Cashmere FFA also shone bright, there's no national competition for apple judging. Only a handful of states in the country are big apple producers, said Rusty Finch, the group's advisor.

"It wouldn't be fair to do a national competition," he said. "It would be like doing [an] oranges [competition]."

At state, Prosser's chapter finished first, by 2.5 points.

"It was close, we should have won it," Finch said.

"Not very fair," said Bostwick, before Finch interjected with, "Oh, it's fair. It's all fair."

At any rate, there's always next year, at least for non-seniors like Cawood and Te Velde. Bostwick is graduating, but before she does, both Te Velde and Bostwick will participate in Ag Sales state competition. Te Velde will participate in the state dairy product evaluation contest. Both occur at the state convention in May.

Regardless of how all these contests turn out, it will leave a deep imprint in the minds of these children, Finch said.

"I love instructing and teaching and coaching consumer contests," he said. "Every single one of these kids is going to do that. Some will use it as a career, every kid at some point will use sales, but every single one of them every single day is a consumer, and there's a lot to learn."

Sebastian Moraga can be reached at 782-3781 or reporter@cashmerevalleyrecord.com.

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