The South Dakota State University Animal Science Academic Quadrathlon Team placed second at the Midwest American Society of Animal Science competition held March 6-7. The team also placed first in the lab practicum and third in the oral presentation and written exam.
Team members included Riggen Zelinsky, senior animal science student from Brookings, South Dakota, Sarah Vos, senior animal science student from Caputa, South Dakota, Murray Perkins, junior animal science student from Buchanan, Tennessee, and Sadie Vander Wal, junior animal science and agricultural communications student from Brentford, South Dakota.
“I had a lot of fun participating in academic quadrathlon and was super excited at how well our team did, but I was also excited because I got to see firsthand the impact my SDSU education has had on me and the knowledge I will take with me when I graduate,” Vos said.
The competition, typically held in conjunction with the Midwest ASAS scientific meetings at an in-person event, took a virtual format via Zoom and Google Forms. In addition to SDSU, six other teams competed in the event, including University of Wisconsin - River Falls, Kansas State University, Iowa State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Missouri.
“As a transfer student fairly new to campus, I was excited for the chance to represent SDSU and the Animal Science Department,” Perkins said. “By networking with other students from various universities with an Animal Science interest, I was reminded of the many opportunities within the industry.”
Academic quadrathlon consists of four divisions: lab practicum, oral presentation, exam and quiz bowl. On March 6, teams completed the lab practicum and oral presentation portions of the event. Oral presentation topics were sent to teams the day before the event, providing one day for teams to choose and create a presentation on a topic. The SDSU team presented on the impact of COVID-19 on the meat, milk and egg industries. Teams then competed in an exam and quiz bowl rounds on the second day of competition.
“I believe the team’s placing really highlights the overall quality of the Animal Science students and program at SDSU,” Dr. Rosie Nold, Department of Animal Science assistant department head, said. “The quadrathlon is unique among collegiate competitions because guidelines are that students should not be coached as a judging team would be. So, without coaching on specific topics or activities, our students did extremely well in all aspects of the academic quadrathlon, but especially excelled in the practical applications of knowledge and communication skills. They have developed these skills through a combination of the rigorous and applicable courses and extra-curricular activities that are offered at SDSU, along with their own personal drive and work ethic.”