CHS Forestry Judging Team places 1st at state tournament

The Cullman High School Forestry Judging Team finished in first place at the state tournament in Auburn Tuesday. (Photo by Nikki West)

AUBURN, Ala. – Cullman High School brought home a new addition to the trophy case this week when the forestry judging team won the state championship in Auburn Tuesday.

Coach David Benefield is proud of his team for it has achieved and what it will achieve in the future.

“I’m very proud of how the team responded and represented Cullman High School and our FFA chapter,” Benefield said. “These guys have been competitive since middle school and with hard work and a little luck, I felt that we had good things in store for the future. I have felt all year that this team had the potential to win the state and I told them that several times. We won the county contest, but placed third in the district competition, but I felt that we were very close to something big. It seems like we came together at the right time and at the right place.”

Benefield also had to thank one of his colleagues at the middle school for helping out the students and preparing them for high school and beyond.

“I would like to thank Mr. Lucas McCollum at Cullman Middle School for preparing and providing students with a solid foundation to build upon,” Benefield added. “He definitely gives our middle school students a positive experience while at Cullman Middle School and prepares them for FFA and agricultural classes at the high school.”

Winning the state championship was the number one goal for Coach Benefield and his squad this year, and he couldn’t be prouder of his team for accomplishing that goal.

“I have to admit that winning another state championship has been a personal goal of mine and this year’s team has allowed me to achieve that goal,” Benefield said. “I feel blessed and fortunate to work in the Cullman City School system and have the full support of my administration. This allows me to provide positive experiences and opportunities through FFA and Agricultural Education.”

Individual results:

*Garrett Lee- 2nd high overall state scorer, missed first place by one point 

*Jack West- 4th overall state scorer

*Cameron Starnes- 5th overall state scorer

*Drew Conway- 6th overall state scorerCullman High School had four of the top six scorers in the state contest.

The team is made up of two seniors, one sophomore and a freshman and now it will prepare for the National FFA Forestry Judging Contest, which will take place in Indianapolis this fall.

“This is an opportunity that few experience,” Benefield said. “And one that will surely impact these young men’s lives for years to come.”  

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