Horticulture students earned 4th place in national landscape competition

Students from Cincinnati State’s degree programs in Landscape Horticulture, Sustainable Horticulture, and Turfgrass Management spent their spring break at the 47th National Collegiate Landscape Competition (NCLC), held March 15-18, 2023, at Mississippi State University.

The Cincinnati State team placed fourth out of the 46 colleges and universities represented. This was the third time in the past three years of NCLC competitions that Cincinnati State’s team achieved a top-five finish in the national event.

The team was fifth overall in 2022 and fourth overall in 2019. The 2020 and 2021 events were not held due to Covid.  

In addition to the team achievement, 13 students earned top-ten honors in their events:

Jacob "Mel" Melvin
Jacob “Mel” Melvin
  • Jacob “Mel” Melvin was the highest scoring Cincinnati State student, earning 9th place overall out of more than 600 students competing. Mel’s accomplishments included 3rd place in Arboriculture, 3rd in Small Engine Repair, 5th in Landscape Lighting, 6th in Truck and Trailer Operation, and 7th in Irrigation Assembly,
  • Maureen “Mo” Comella: 1st place in Business Management and 9th in Employee Development
  • Brittany Dove: 8th in Turf and Turf Pest Identification
  • Ben Gressle: 8th in Safety First
  • Catherine LaGasse: 10th in Irrigation Troubleshooting
  • Isaac Ludke: 7th in Irrigation Assembly and 10th in Irrigation Troubleshooting
  • Nat Kutcher: 1st place in Robotics and Technology and 8th in Safety First. Nat was a first-time attendee at the competition.
  • Alexsis Perrmann: 9th in Employee Development and 10th in Plant Problem Diagnosis
  • Jon Smotherman: 2nd in Construction Cost Estimating
  • Tayla Smart: 6th in Computer Aided Design
  • Ricci Sena: 3rd in Arboriculture
  • Sawyer Sanders: 6th in Truck and Trailer Operation
  • Kelsey Vance: 8th in Plant Problem Diagnosis
Tiffany Chen
Tiffany Chen (center)

At the scholarship reception, team member Tiffany Chen received the TruGreen Environmental Stewardship Scholarship Award of $2,500 towards her tuition and fees at Cincinnati State.

The competition includes 29 different events, designated for one individual, two individuals, or for a two-person or a three-person team. Each event is worth 200 points toward the team’s score. 

Landscape Horticulture Program Chair Mark Deacon said an unusual cold spell put a chill on the outdoor events. On the final day, competitors had to deal with abundant rainfall along with temperatures that started in the 60s but dropped to the 40s, turning the end of the final event, Landscape Plant Installation, into “one big muddy mess.” 

During the trip, the Cincinnati State team also enjoyed a brief stop and picnic lunch at the 14,000 acre Bernheim Forest and Arboretum in Clermont, KY, and they toured the Opryland Hotel indoor gardens in Nashville, TN. 

(Reporting and photos provided by Mark Deacon)

Horticulture Team visit to Opryland indoor garden
Horticulture Team visit to Opryland indoor garden