For the second year in a row, BYU has won the National Collegiate Landscaping Competition — and this year it was a landslide.
BYU finished 440 points ahead of second-place finisher Cal Poly-Pomona to land its 6th national title in landscape management since 2003. More than 60 universities competed in the annual event, including top-10 finishers Michigan State University, North Carolina State University, Virginia Tech and Penn State.
BYU also had the top overall student performer (out of 710 student competitors), with senior landscape management major Marco Crosland finishing No. 1 by edging out Michigan State’s Tyler Gilson with a score of 454.30 to 453.44. In addition to Crosland’s top finish, three of BYU’s 32 student competitors finished first place in their individual competitions, with several others finishing second or third.
The national event includes 30 individual competitions — from 3D Exterior Landscape Design to Construction Cost Estimating and even “Woody Ornamental Plant Identification” — where students dig in and earn points toward the total team score. Thirty-two BYU students got their gloves dirty this year, including teammates Maryn Jacobs and McKayla Sundberg, who became the first ever all-women team to finish in the Top 5 in hardscape installation.
“A big part of our success as a team is our partnership with BYU Grounds,” said faculty coach Greg Jolley, professor of landscape management at BYU. “Most of our students work for them and they help students prepare for their competitions during their own time. Their contribution to the team success is invaluable.”
Nine BYU grounds staff traveled to the event this year, hosted by Alamance Community College in Graham, North Carolina, and not only helped students prepare, but also helped set up the event because Alamance had a limited amount of grounds employees available.
Several BYU students also cleaned up on scholarship money from the competition, with senior Michelle Lorimer laying claim to the Presidential Scholarship, the top award worth $3,000. In total, BYU students took home $15,000 in scholarships.
Lorimer and top points finisher Marco Crosland both graduate from BYU this April. While Lorimer has already accepted a position with Southern Botanical out of Dallas, Crosland is considering multiple offers from landscape companies throughout the country.
The BYU team is coached by Jolley, Phil Allen and Ryan Stewart. Here is the list of top BYU student finishers by category:
- Arboriculture Techniques: Jackson Chandler and Karlie Taylor
- Exterior Landscape Design: Leslie Stewart
- Sales Presentation: Matthew Heaton
- Interior Landscape Design: McKayla Sundberg
- Interior Plant Identification: Eliza Bentz
- Landscape Lighting: Eliza Bentz
- Landscape Plant Installation: Alyssa Brown, Marco Crosland, and Matthew Heaton
- Small Engine Repair: Marco Crosland
- Truck and Trailer Operation: Marco Crosland and Chandler Haas
- Woody Ornamental Plant Identification: Emma Fisher
- Landscape Maintenance Operations: Jacob Moss and Steven Schriver
- Mini Track Loader Operation: Tate Barney