1. K-State home
  2. »Research and Extension
  3. »News
  4. »News Stories
  5. »K-State Crops Team Completes Successful Spring Season

K-State Research and Extension News

2021 K-State Crops Team members, standing with awards

Members of the 2021 K-State crops judging team include (l to r) Alex Kaufmann, Jaden Strohl, Blake Kirchhoff, Luke Ryan, Evan Bott, Austin Hobbs, Trevor Mullen. | Download this photo.

K-State Crops Team Completes Successful Spring Season

After a halt to judging contests in 2020, K-State continues its win streak

April 30, 2021

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Seniors Luke Ryan and Blake Kirchhoff posted a 1-2 finish to lead the Kansas State University crops team to a first place finish at the national invitational crops contest recently.

The squad jumped back into in-person competition this spring after a pause caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Ryan, who is from Solomon, Kansas, and Kirchhoff, from Hardy, Nebraska, grabbed the top two individual spots, but were followed closely by teammates Evan Bott (junior from Palmer, Kansas) in fourth and Trevor Mullen (junior from Salina, Kansas) in twelfth.

The alternate team members included Alex Kaufmann (junior from Concordia, Kansas, who placed eighth overall) Jayden Strohl (junior from Cunningham, Kansas) and Austin Hobbs (junior from Buffalo, Kansas). All are agronomy majors at K-State.

The national invitational was hosted by Hutchinson Community College. K-State beat Iowa State (second) and the University of Nebraska (third). Nine four-year schools, four two-year schools, and four high school teams also competed.

Crops teams compete in four categories, including laboratory practical, agronomic exam, math practical and plant and seed identification. As a team, K-State placed first in lab and exam and second in math and identification. Individually, Ryan was first in all four components, while Kirchhoff tied for first in math and was second in lab and identification. Bott was third in laboratory practical.

This was the second spring competition for K-State’s team. At the regional contest in March, K-State placed second to Iowa State. Ryan and Kirchhoff also swept the top two individual spots at regionals.

Last fall, K-State’s crops team won a virtual crops contest held online during the national meeting of the Students of Agronomy Soils and Environmental Sciences. Ryan and Kirchoff swept the top two spots and Madison Tunnell (senior from Overland Park, Kansas) placed fifth. Tunnell graduated in December and did not compete with the team this spring.

The team is coached by K-State professor of agronomy Kevin Donnelly and graduate student Sarah Zerger.

At a glance

Seniors Luke Ryan and Blake Kirchoff posted a 1-2 finish to lead K-State to first place at the national invitational crops contest.


Kevin Donnelly

Written by

Kathy Gehl


KSRE logo
K‑State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well‑being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county extension offices, experiment fields, area extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K‑State campus in Manhattan. For more information, visit www.ksre.ksu.edu. K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.