JACKSON TWP.  Jackson High School’s horticulture class once again came home with gold medals from the Landscape Olympics on Oct. 11. As a team, it brought home the bronze when it earned the third highest score in the state. The team received a team bronze medal, a banner, a trophy, $500 cash prize and a new Stihl battery powered blower.

The Jackson team also came away with two top individual awards. Keegan Minard earned first place in the state with the highest score and Brady Scheetz earned second place with the next highest score. Each received a plague and a cash prize.

“The experience was pretty straightforward, and it was exciting to place first,” said Minard.

“It was a surprise," Scheetz added. "This is the first year I competed and I went in not knowing what to expect and I tried my best.”

The Landscape Olympics is an Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association event hosted by the Ohio State University at their Wooster ATI campus. This year, more than 250 students from 22 schools across the state competed in 13 events, including plant identification, compact excavator, skid steer operation, plant and hardscape installation, landscape maintenance, irrigation, truck and trailer maneuverability, cost estimating, low-voltage lighting, turf-grass science, construction cost estimating, irrigation assembly and troubleshooting and landscape maintenance operation.

The awards presented at the competition include gold, silver and bronze medals for each event as well as awards for the top 10 individuals and top five teams.

Jackson horticultur class teacher Roy Dria said that last year mostly the seniors, with just a few juniors from his class, competed. This year, Dria said he had 30 students both juniors and seniors compete.

Student awards included the following:

• Gold Medal for Compact Excavator Operations - Brady Scheetz

• Gold Medal for Hardscape Installation - Team- Keegan Minard and Brady Scheetz

• Bronze Medal for Knot Tying and Rigging - Team- Brandon Schleig, Alexis Walker, and Peyton Wentzel

• Gold Medal for Sales Presentation - Ian Glosser

• Gold Medal for Truck and Trailer Operation - Team- Brady Scheetz and Peyton Wentzel

• Gold Medal for Landscape Plant Installation - Team - Keegan Minard, Brady Scheetz, and Alexis Walker

Dria said the support the program gets is one of the things that helps the students stand out. He thanked a long list of supporters including the administration at Jackson Local Schools District.

“This is a great competition to challenge my students to reach a new level of skills in the landscape industry,” Dria said. “All of my students gave me a huge amount of effort. Some of my students have already started their own businesses and this validates that they know what they are doing and are ready to work in the industry.

"It’s not really about competition, it’s more about the sum of their efforts that make up who they are; it’s more about how they take their experiences and learn and grow from them and that’s what makes them a more rounded person.”