Horticulture Student Takes First in Two National Collegiate Landscape Competition Events

Jeremy Garner finished in second as an individual out of 672 students competing at the National Collegiate Landscape Competition.


Jeremy Garner.

He finished first in two individual events: tractor loader backhoe operation and skid steer operation.

“Jeremy is very deserving of this honor,” Horticulture program instructor Robin Fruth-Dugstad says. “He has worked hard. The other Rochester and Community Technical College (RCTC) students were congratulating him and his comment was, ‘This trophy belongs to the team. I could not have competed in the team events without all of you.'”

Garner really is a team player.

“The wins are not a big a deal to me due to the fact that I have been operating for so long; I should do well,” Garner says. “The young guys that come in with the raw talent, that is cool, that’s what makes my hair stand up.”

Garner, an Okabena, Minn., native, is in the process of developing a business plan for his company, which he plans to start this spring.

“I am starting a more high-end hardscape, landscape company specializing in outdoor living spaces,” he says.

Garner is adamant that life at RCTC has prepared him for the next chapter in his life.

“RCTC has been my road to success, to say, in essence, and Robin has been the conductor,” says Garner. “I will thoroughly miss being in the Horticulture program.”

The competition

The National Collegiate Landscape Competition (NCLC) is an annual three-day competition and networking event for students enrolled in horticulture programs at two- and four-year colleges and universities from across the nation. Each year, a different host location is selected, which gives the participants a chance to see different parts of the country, and also increases the level of difficulty for some of the outdoor competitions. Approximately 800 green industry students demonstrate their skills in real-world, competitive events coupled with student workshops.

Brigham Young University-Provo hosted the 2017 event with 65 college teams, a total of 672 students, who participated in 29 individual and team competitions. Five RCTC horticulture students participated in 10 events: compact excavator operation, compact track loader operation, skid steer operation, hardscape installation, construction cost estimating, landscape plant installation, annual & perennial ID, truck & trailer operation, woody plant ID, and wood construction.

The full list of winners can be found below.

Individual events

Jeremy Garner: Tractor Loader Backhoe operation (1st place), skid steer operation (1st place), compact excavator operation (5th place)

Abe Berg: Construction Cost estimating

Elizabeth Heilskov: Annual & Perennial ID

James Vangilder: Construction Cost Estimating, Woody Plant ID

Team Events

Hardscape: Jeremy and Abe

Landscape Plant Installation: Jeremy, Elizabeth, & Colton Heins

Wood Construction: Abe and Colton

Truck and Trailer: Abe and Colton


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