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NMSU Floral Team Thrives at Nationals

LAS CRUCES?New Mexico State University's floriculture team captured national honors at the Pi Alpha Xi Intercollegiate Floral Judging and Design Competition April 4-6 in Champaign, Ill.

New Mexico State University's Robert Parra practices his design skills before departing for a national floral competition in Champaign, Ill. Parra finished first in the professional category. (04/13/2005) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by J. Victor Espinoza)

Robert Parra of Las Cruces won a first place in the professional design contest. Frances Miller of Silver City was third in potted plant judging, and Bryan Chasko of Cloudcroft finished among the top 10 in floral judging.

"The results in the judging contest were a direct reflection of effort," said coach Sabine Green. "This was our best showing in judging in many years."

Both judging and design team members held weekly practices, increasing to two sessions a week as the competition approached.

"The design team is always extremely competitive," Green said. "They did very well and received several compliments on their designs."

The team also earned first place honors in a scavenger hunt contest for being the friendliest team that had the most fun, Green said.

Assistant coach Troy Larsen, a graduate student in agronomy and horticulture, helped prepare the team. Associate professor Geno Picchioni is the faculty adviser.

Other team members are Samantha Lish of Las Cruces; alternate Serena Lunsford of Albuquerque; Kathy Burcham, an exchange student from Cuauhtémoc, Mexico; Monica Gomez of La Mesa; and Jessica Lucero of Las Cruces.