Penn State Turfgrass Students Succeed at Sports Turf Manager’s Association Student Challenge!

February 1, 2016 in 2-year, 4-year, Articles, Awards

Penn State Turfgrass Science Students took first in the 4-yr and second in the 2-yr division in the 11th annual STMA Student Challenge in San Diego, CA on January 21, 2016. Thirty-two teams competed in this years’ Student Challenge. The awards are presented in partnership with the SAFE Foundation and Hunter Industries and supporting sponsor Ewing. Through the generosity of SAFE, the Student Challenge provides the winning two-year team and the winning four-year team each with a $4,000 grant to fund a practical learning lab at their college or university. See the previous blog posting for information on how the students used past winnings.

Dr. Ben McGraw is in charge of training the students. The teams start in September and meet two evenings per week to study such things as irrigation, calibration, and turfgrass and pest ID and control. Varying turfgrass professors, staff, and industry representatives provide guest lectures. “The students put in a lot of their own time. They are very dedicated and work very hard and I give them all the credit,” says Dr. McGraw.

Penn State was able to take 16 students to the national STMA conference in San Antonio due in large part to the generosity of the Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council and the Keystone Athletic Field Managers Organization both of which donated funds toward the student’s travel expenses. Students were able to take advantage of many activities specifically geared to them including a student forum, student lunch, and many educational sessions.


2016 First Place STMA Student Challenge Team 4-yr division. Front Row: Alex Bonini,
Kirk Bender, Jeff Reggio, and Tom Goyne. Back Row: Second place 2-yr division Rob Sicinski, Jack Falvey, Matt Accardi, and Kyle Basehore.