A team of Virginia Tech graduate students captured first place in the 2019 North American Weed Science Contest held at Champaign, Illinois, this summer.

The competition included 241 students from 29 universities from the U.S. and Canada comprising 67 teams. Three College of Agriculture and Life Science students also took home individual first-place prizes. Students also captured top prizes in the Northeastern region competition, continuing a winning streak the Hokies started in 2012.

The students compete in four events over the course of a day that test their knowledge in a broad range of agricultural and weed science topics. 

“We worked very hard for months in preparation, which paid off,” said Jacob Barney, an associate professor in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences who coached the students. Assistant Professor Michael Flessner and Associate Professor Shawn Askew also led the team.

North American awards
First-place graduate team: John Brewer, of Pulaski, Tennessee; Shawn Beam, of Concord, North Carolina; Eric Scruggs, of Mechanicsville, Virginia; Wykle Greene, of Headland, Alabama.

First-place graduate individual: Scruggs.
First-place graduate weed identification: Brewer.
First-place graduate herbicide identification: Scruggs.


Northeastern Region
First-place graduate team: Brewer, Beam, Scruggs, and Greene.
Third-place graduate team: Jordan Craft, of Hurley, Mississippi; Gourav Sharma, of Ludhiana, Punjab, India; Caleb Henderson, of Warrensburg, Missouri; and Spencer Michael, of Hillsboro, Ohio.

First-place graduate individual: Scruggs.
Second-place graduate individual: Beam.
Third-place graduate individual: Brewer.