Friday, December 10, 2010
Steamboat Springs What members of the Routt County 4-H Livestock Judging Team will remember most is not how they placed at a recent national competition — eighth — or that they won the national title in the cattle judging division.
Instead, team members Catharine Koroulis and Mackenzie Carnahan will remember the camaraderie and friendships.
“I don’t know if I will ever have as strong of a bond as between the five people on the team in Louisville,” said Koroulis, who competed in her final 4-H-level competition at nationals. “It’s hard to describe. I’ll always miss that.”
The team of Koroulis, Morgan Hatfield, Cole and Mackenzie Carnahan and Abbey Horn finished eighth overall at the 2010 National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest in Louisville, Ky., the weekend of Nov. 13.
In addition to their first-place cattle finish, they came in third overall in the reasons division out of 34 teams and 131 students.
In the various events, teams are required to judge the market quality of sheep, swine and cattle and place them within their classes, giving oral reasons to support their choices.
“They did pretty well,” said Rod Wille, who coaches the team along with Rod Olinger. “We were hoping to win the contest, and that was their goal. But first in cattle is something to be proud of. We just had a really good day in cattle. We placed the classes right and did well in the reasons room.”
Koroulis attributed their success in the beef division to all of the Routt County ranchers who allowed the team to practice using their livestock throughout the season.
“Since we’re such a beef cattle area, we were proud to be able to represent us in that way,” Koroulis said.
In the individual categories, Koroulis finished fourth in reasons, seventh in cattle and 10th overall.
Mackenzie Carnahan, a sophomore at Soroco High School, came in fourth in cattle.
“The hardest part was dealing with the nerves of being at a national contest,” said Carnahan, who was competing in her first nationals. “As a team, we came together and we prayed and tried not to get nervous as a team.”
She said her older teammates — Koroulis and Hatfield attend college in Wyoming together — helped ease some of the pressure.
“They know how to handle everything a lot better,” she said. “They gave everyone a standard for how to deal with things.”
Wille said he admired the talent, skill and dedication of this year’s team. He said their closeness was likely a contributing factor in their success.
With Koroulis and Hatfield moving on to the collegiate level, Wille said his team could be entirely new next year.
“You lose your good kids, but they go on and do other things, and you bring the next group in and it’s part of being a teacher, really,” he said, expressing his pride in Koroulis’ recent win at a collegiate competition.
While the competitive streak in Koroulis wishes they had done better overall, she’s proud of the work the team put in.
“For me, the biggest thing is it was a great experience to share with great friends and great teammates,” she said. “The hardest part was after it was all over. I knew it was the last I had with my team.”
Carnahan thought the team did well considering the magnitude of the competition.
“Being eighth in the nation is pretty good,” she said.