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The Student News Site of Santa Maria High School

The Breeze

The Student News Site of Santa Maria High School

The Breeze

The Student News Site of Santa Maria High School

The Breeze

SMHS FFA Soil and Land Evaluation Judging Team State Champions

SMHS+FFA+Judging+Teams+At+The+Cal+Poly+For+The+State+Finals.%0Aphoto+provided+by+arcy+pineda
SMHS FFA Judging Teams At The Cal Poly For The State Finals. photo provided by arcy pineda

On May 4, the Santa Maria High School FFA won the FFA Soil and Land Evaluation Judging Team State Championship at the Cal Poly State FFA Judging Finals Competition.

There were 50 Santa Maria FFA members competing in 12 different contests at the 2024 competition which wrapped up the judging season for Career Development Events.

The main highlight of the day was the announcement of the State Champion Soil and Land Evaluation Team. In addition, Kayce Van Horn (11th grade) was the First High Individual, Pilar Diaz (12th grade) was the Second High Individual, and Ayari Portillo (12th grade) was the Third High Individual. Kareen Martinez (12th grade) was also on the State Champion Team. With the win, they qualify for the National Competition in Oklahoma City, OK next year.

Kayce Van Horn, Soil and Land Evaluation First High Individual, mentioned, “This was my first year, because I won a state championship on the Vegetable Crops Team last year and had to find a new team. I was welcomed and pushed by my teammates to be the best! The moment my name was called for the First High Individual and our team was announced as the high team … it was so surreal and a moment I will never forget. I am so grateful for my team and coach. In February, students began working hard to prepare for contests up and down the state of California at the different universities and colleges. Thousands of miles were traveled and there was a great success all leading up to the state finals competition.”

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Kareen Martinez, member of the State Champion Soil and Land Evaluation Judging Team, said, “After three years of working towards this moment, it feels unbelievable to finally be here with a state champion title! We have all put in countless hours practicing and studying. It was a group effort, and I am so proud of our team for this amazing accomplishment.”

The Soil and Land Evaluation Team was successful throughout the judging season, according to their advisor, Marc DeBernardi.

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  • The Soil and Land Evaluation Judging Team at the Cal Poly FFA State Finals. photo provided by arcy pineda

  • Kayce Van Horn, Soil and Land Evaluation First High Individual at the Cal Poly FFA State Finals. photo provided by arcy pineda

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“This is a great accomplishment,’’ DeBernardi added. “The students worked hard and had their best contest all year. It is nice to see our students place First, Second, and Third High Individuals in the state when it counted most.”

Other Santa Maria FFA Teams That Placed Top 10 At The 2024 Cal Poly State Finals Were:

  • Floriculture – 2nd High Team
  • Nursery Landscape – 3rd High Team
  • Poultry – 4th High Team
  • Milk Quality & Dairy Foods – 4th High Team – Evelyn Noriega – 4th High Individual
  • Vegetable Crops – 6th High Team
  • AET – 7th High Team
  • Agronomy – 8th High Team
  • Forestry – 8th High Team
  • Light Horse Judging – 9th High Team
  • Veterinary Science and B.I.G. also competed.

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