March 10, 2006

SIUC team finishes fifth in Collegiate Turf Bowl

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Four Southern Illinois University Carbondale seniors specializing in turf management took fifth place Feb. 10 in a national competition held in Atlanta, Ga., aimed at showcasing their knowledge of everything from turf types to golf course management.

Richard Frey of South Roxana, Mark E. Haschemeyer of Athens, Keith F. Rincker of Strasburg and Dan T. Schaefer of Freeburg finished behind Iowa State University, which took first, and Purdue University, which snagged second, third and fourth places.

"We're nationally competitive and in good company," said Assistant Professor of Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems Kenneth L. Diesburg, who oversees the specialization.

"Iowa State is the perennial winner — they're the ones to beat."

This is the fourth year SIUC has fielded a team at the annual Collegiate Turf Bowl sponsored by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

"The closest we got before was 26th place," Diesburg said.

The bowl format groups teams of four in taking one eight-part exam, which includes hands-on work, multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank and matching questions. This year, organizers added a case study section involving multiple-choice questions and an essay to test team know-how in such areas as finance, personnel issues and supervisory skills.

Placing well serves as a resumé booster, Diesburg said.

"A lot of applicants have had internships or might already be assistants," he noted. "This is another way to get an edge."

Frey is the son of South Roxana residents Rick Frey and Evelyn Barraco. Hashemeyer is the son of Athens residents Del D. and Sue N. Haschemeyer. Rincker is the son of Strasburg residents David E. and Elma L. Rincker. Schaefer is the son of Freeburg residents Richard and Jen Schaefer.

Promoting excellence in undergraduate academics is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.