UMO Ag Students Compete in Landscape Competition

UMO Ag Students Compete in Landscape Competition

MOUNT OLIVE- Seven University of Mount Olive (UMO) students recently traveled to Colorado for the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) National Collegiate Landscape Competition (NCLC). They joined other students, industry professionals, faculty, and volunteers from across the country to demonstrate their skills in the landscape industry’s largest recruiting event and competition.

UMO’s NCLC student competition team members include: Samantha Byrd, a senior agricultural education major from Hope Mills; Noah Tate, a junior agricultural education major from Vass; Kaylei Scott, a senior agribusiness major from Forest City; Heather Kiser, a senior agricultural production systems major from Lenoir; Ben Meares, a junior agricultural production systems major from Marshville; Michaela Parks, a senior agricultural production systems major from Hamptonville; and Logan McKee, a junior agricultural production systems major from Cerro Gordo. They were accompanied by faculty advisor Whitney Phillips.

The three-day event provided students with access to the country’s largest landscape skills competition, educational workshops, presentations from the industry’s top professionals, and a career fair. Almost 800 students from approximately 60 schools competed to take home top honors in 29 individual competitions related to the landscape industry.

Tate ranked 34th out of 788 participants and placed 13th in Mini Track Loader Operation. Scott came in 2nd in Sales Presentation. Tate and McKee placed 14th in Irrigation Assembly, and Byrd and Kiser placed in the top 50% in Plant Identification. Meares came in 20th place in Skid Steer Operations, and Parks placed in the top 50% in Plant Problem Diagnosis.

“Going to NCLC was an amazing experience for me,” said McKee. “This competition was a learning experience and a chance to work hands-on in a multitude of different areas in the industry. Additionally, I had the opportunity to interact with various companies to discuss job opportunities.”

“I could not have asked for a better group of students to take to Colorado State University to participate,” said Phillips. “They represented UMO with prestige and continue to exceed my expectations with their knowledge, skill, and passion.”

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, in Smithfield at Johnston Community College, and online.  For more information,

Ben Meares, Logan McKee, Kaylei Scott, Noah Tate, Samantha Byrd, Heather Kiser, Michaela Parks