The Barbour County 4-H Soils Judging team just returned from an 11-day trip to Oklahoma City, where the squad won first in the two possible national 4-H
The teammates are now the outright National 4-H Land Judging Champions and the National 4-H Homesite Judging Champions for 2014. The Barbour County 4-Hers scored 807 points out of a possible 900 points to defeat every team in the national contest including the FFA teams. They also won the Homesite judging championship by scoring 1147 points out of a possible 1164 points.
The Barbour County 4-H Soils Judging team won two national championships. From left are Kelton Miller, Chloe Mouser, Mikhela Freeman and Nathan Yocum.
Barbour County team members are Mikhela Freeman, Kelton Miller, Chloe Mouser and Nathan Yocum. The team is coached by Roger Nestor, retired WVU Extension agent and Joshua Peplowski, WVU extension agent in Barbour County. The coaches were also assisted by 4-H volunteers Jody Carpenter and Reta Nestor.
Nestor said that "both of these national contests are extremely competitive and that generally, one point is one place." He added that "this team was dedicated to about 400 hours of training required to achieve their national honors."
"Everyone made some personal sacrifices and had become mentally tough enough to meet the challenges of national competition," Nestor said. "This is a lot of pressure for high school age youths. These kids accepted the challenge and performed extremely well."
Furthermore, this team kept Barbour County 4-H on the national championship list with a double championship again. This is the fifth time that Barbour County has earned both the national titles. The 2009 Barbour County team put Barbour County back on the national list when they won both championships. Prior to 2005, Barbour County had won a record three national championships in a row.
Barbour County is the only county 4-H program in the nation to win back to back national land and homesite judging championships in the 63-year history of the contest. The Barbour County 4-H program has now won eight of the last 12 National Homesite judging championships and seven National Land Judging
Nestor said "it is good to bring another national championship back to West Virginia but more importantly it is good to see how well our youths respond when given some time, strategic training, and an opportunity."
All four Barbour County team members were in the top 23 in scoring in both the Land Judging and the Homesite Judging. Miller earned first-place individual honors in the land contest with 284 points out of a possible 300 points in Land Judging. Yocum was in second place with 269 points, Mouser was seventh with 254 points and Freeman finished 21st with 203 points.
Miller and teammate Mouser both had perfect scores of 388 points out of a possible 388 points in the Homesite Judging. Unfortunately they lost the tiebreakers with two other contestants who also had perfect scores. The tie was broken by having those folks with perfect scores write down what the percent of clay was in one in the designated subsoil samples. Therefore, Miller officially finished second and Mouser finished fourth. Along with Miller's and Mouser's individual perfect scores, their teammates also did very well by finishing in the top 23. Yocum was 12th with 371 points and Freeman was 23rd with 336 points.
Nestor said that "to have all four team members in the top 21 in the nation in 4-H land judging and the top 23 in Homesite judging is a great accomplishment."
Nestor also said the team's 400 hours of practice time paid off.
"Championships are earned and indeed this team is very deserving for all their work and how well they represented Barbour County and West Virginia," Nestor said. "The team battled through all types of weather since their West Virginia state championship run last summer during practices. This team is very deserving of every honor possible for their national championship."
Nestor and Peplowski also expressed appreciation to family, parents, 4-H leaders, and everyone who helped make the opportunity possible by providing farms for practice sites, money for the expenses, and time to take care of the things that needed done while the team practiced and was away in