Horticulture Students Earn Honors in 2023 National Collegiate Landscape Competition

By: Cat Pastoor

Competing students at the 2023 National Collegiate Landscape Competition stand in front of the sign for Mississippi State University

A team of 21 students from the College of DuPage Horticulture program placed 12th overall out of 42 colleges and universities from across the U.S. and Canada and fourth out of all community colleges at the 2023 National Collegiate Landscape Competition.

The annual three-day competition, held earlier this month at Mississippi State University, brought together top landscape and horticulture students, top industry companies, and dozens of the biggest industry manufacturers and suppliers from around the country.

The following students were recognized at the competition

Christian Schloegel (Clarendon Hills) placed fourth overall out of 529 students, fourth in Compact Excavator Operation and 11th on Compact Track/Skid Steer Loader Operation. Schloegel and Emerson Eich (LaGrange) took second in Truck and Trailer Operations, and Schloegel and Matthew Fiala (Lombard) placed sixth in Landscape Maintenance Operations.

In addition, Kandace Regan (Oak Park) placed third in Sales Presentation; Mia Olson (Wheaton) and Lisa Broccardo (Aurora) were fourth in Safety First; Francisco Garcia (Elgin) was seventh in Small Engine Repair; Ellen Holndoner (Bolingbrook), Teddy Allen (Elburn) and Tony Polerecky (Wood Dale) placed seventh in Landscape Plant Installation; Joseph Huttner (Oakbrook Terrace) took 11th in Plant Problem Diagnosis; Garcia and Fiala placed 13th in Irrigation Assembly; Fernanda Hernandez (West Chicago) was 14th in Interior Landscape Design; and Tim Hughes (Wheaton) placed 14th in 3D Exterior Design.

Additional COD competitors included Jimmie Sumpter (Westmont), Manuel Garcia (Wheeling), Branimira Petkova (Willowbrook), Luis Mazariegos (Schaumburg), Nathan Stinites (Chicago), Adam Peters (Villa Park), Isaac Lopez (Lombard), and Jennifer Suszek (Berwyn).

Several Chicagoland area sponsors assisted in funding the students’ trip to the competition, including Ball Horticulture, Balanced Environments Inc. Illinois Landscape Contractors Association, Russo Power Equipment, Martin Associates, L-I-D Landscapes, P.A. Linkes Inc., Chalet Landscape, Nursery and Garden Center, Chicago St. Sunflower Co., Premier Landscape, Cedar Path Nurseries, Midwest Ground Covers/Midwest Trading, Acres Group, Yellowstone Landscape, Landworks Limited, The Growing Place, Ion Metal Pros Inc. and Greenwise.

The Horticulture program at COD provides fundamental and advanced education and practical training to help graduates successfully enter the workforce. Students can earn Associate in Applied Science degrees in Horticulture, Landscape Contracting and Management, and Sustainable Urban Agriculture as well as nine certificates. Horticulture courses are offered day and night, in-person, hybrid and virtual with more than 60 course offerings.

COD’s fall term begins Monday, Aug. 21, and includes a 16-week, two 12-week and two eight-week sessions. Course offerings include a mix of in-person, hybrid, virtual and traditional online classes. Fall registration for returning COD students with 30 or more completed credits runs April 12 to 18. Registration for all returning and new students begins Wednesday, April 19.

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