• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Woodford skillathon team finishes 5th in nation


The Woodford County 4-H Livestock Skillathon Team finished fifth overall at its recent national championship at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville.

Eliza Lavin, Cole Vanzant, Matt Vanzant and Chloe Wagener earned their team’s top-five finish by earning a fifth place in identification and a sixth place in quality assurance at the National 4-H Livestock Skillathon on Nov. 13. The team is also the first-ever from Woodford County to earn a top-five overall finish nationally.

Looking back on his team’s experience, Matt said, “Fifth in the country is pretty impressive.” He and his Woodford County teammates competed against 18 other teams at the national championship.

“They’ve worked hard and have been doing this a long time so they deserve it,” said Coach Theresa Vanzant. She said her team had to work together in order to demonstrate their knowledge and answer an array of questions about caring for livestock.

“We have to communicate with each other, work as a team – that’s a big part of it,” said Matt.

Individually, Cole placed third in identification and eighth overall, and Matt finished 10th overall at the National 4-H Livestock Skillathon. The brothers had to complete a quiz to show their knowledge in different areas of the agricultural industry including quality assurance to ensure high-quality products for consumers. Their top-10 overall finishes were also firsts for a Woodford County team.

“It wasn’t just me coaching,” said Coach Vanzant. “We had such a good group of people here,” who helped this team prepare for nationals. Besides having the support of agents in the Woodford County Extension office, she said farmers and educators in the University of Kentucky’s animal science department helped her team along their journey to a top-five finish nationally. “So (our team) had exposure to some people who were really top-notch in the industry,” added Vanzant. She said her team wrote 30 thank-you notes to those who helped them along the way.

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