Winners announced as landscaping competition comes to a close

Updated Mar 29, 2016
Students from Auburn University hustle to dig and lay sod as part of the Landscape Plant Installation competitive event. Photo: Jill OdomStudents from Auburn University hustle to dig and lay sod as part of the Landscape Plant Installation competitive event.
Photo: Jill Odom

After a long and exciting three days of all things landscaping, students from the 62 schools participating in the 40th National Collegiate Landscape Competition gathered Saturday morning at McCarthy Gymnasium on Mississippi State University’s campus for the closing ceremony.

Kory Beidler, NCLC chair and director of training and development at LandCare, opened the ceremony by relating tales of students who demonstrated exceptionally positive attitudes during the competition, such as one girl who kept hitting a cone during the truck and trailer operation and who is now taking the cone home with her.

“We had a lot of fun and dodged a couple of storms last night,” Beidler said. “We had a great time and this is a great campus.”

The crowd cheered their thanks to Mississippi State for playing host and MSU professors Tim Schauwecker and Jason Walker were given plaques out of appreciation for their help.

Next, Roger Phelps, corporate communications manager for Stihl, stepped up to thank all the sponsors and companies who ran the different events and thanked the students for their enthusiasm.

“Sometimes we get a little jaded about the industry, but you all get us fired up,” he said.

Phelps also urged the college students to find not only what they are passionate about, but also a way to help people while doing it.

“No matter what you do, find something you love, but make sure to make a difference in someone else’s life,” he said.

In an effort to get students posting on social media during NCLC, Stihl offered to give one student $1,000 to take back to their school if they managed to capture the spirit of the event. The overall winner of the #RealSTIHL Spirit Award went to Rene Nirmala Bhattacharya from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Bhattacharya also received $500 in Corona tools and $500 in Permaloc materials.

The next group of winners announced was for the schools that had the most participation in the career development series run by Ewing Irrigation and Hunter Industries.

“We had a great turnout this year,” said Lynda Wightman, industry relations manager for Hunter Industries.

Winners in this category were broken down by how many students each school brought. Kansas State University won for the 25 and higher division, Auburn University won the 10 to 25 division, and Southeast Technical Institute won for the less than 10 division.

Scholarship recipients from the National Association of Landscape Professionals Foundation were recognized in front of their peers, and Miles Kuperus Jr., president of the NALP Foundation, also announced the Outstanding Educator of the Year for 2016.

This year’s winner was MSU’s own Tim Schauwecker and this announcement was met with a cacophony of clanging cowbells in celebration.

“Tim challenges students to question what it is to be a landscaper in the 21st century and he challenges his students to be the best they can be,” said Kuperus.

Of the 62 schools that competed in this year’s 28 different events, 30 of the schools placed 3rd or higher at least once. Michigan State University dominated the field by placing 13 times, closely followed by Brigham Young University-Idaho, which placed 10 times.

Below are the top 10 schools in descending order. The 41st NCLC will be at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and is scheduled for March 15-18, 2017. For a full listing of the winners for each event, go to

Top 10 Schools

10th – Alamance Community College

9th – Pennsylvania State University

8th – Kansas State University

7th – North Carolina State University

6th – California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly)

5th – Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah)

4th – Colorado State University

3rd – Cuyahoga Community College

2nd – Brigham Young University-Idaho

1st – Michigan State University

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