HIGHLAND HILLS — The top landscape and horticulture student in the country attends Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®).
Frank Vareska won the 2019 National Collegiate Landscape Competition, finishing with the leading score among nearly 800 competitors at the annual event held March 20-23 at Colorado State University.
His performance led Tri-C’s team to a third-place overall finish at the event, which attracted more than 60 of the nation’s top horticulture and landscape programs from two- and four-year schools. Tri-C placed first among community colleges.
The annual competition challenges students in 29 individual or group events that require the expertise needed to work in the industry. It is organized by the National Association of Landscape Professionals.
Vareska, of Mentor-on-the-Lake, competed in five events. He paired with teammates to place second in landscape maintenance operations and third in both landscape plant installation and maintenance cost estimating.
He becomes the second Tri-C student to win the competition, following Hayden Angelotta in 2014.
Another member of the College’s team, Drew Krueger of Dayton, finished sixth overall with strong showings in five events. He teamed with Jake Barber (Chester Township) to win the hardscape installation challenge.
Tri-C claimed two other event championships. Lauren Linden of Rocky River posted the top score in computer-aided landscape design for the second consecutive year, while Cole Jacobs (Bay Village) and JC Mazzurco (Chester Township) placed first in irrigation assembly.
Other Top 5 performances by Tri-C students individually or with a teammate included:
·Barber in arboriculture techniques and compact excavator operation. He finished 21st overall, too.
·James Brewer (Fairview Park) in arboriculture techniques
·Brady Dauber (Cleveland) in landscape plant installation
·Amanda Gainer (Columbia Station) in annual and perennial identification.
·Jacobs in landscape plant installation
·Stacey Lorenz (Willoughby Hills) in interior plant identification and irrigation troubleshooting
·Mazzurco in landscape maintenance operations
·Juliana Protz (Cuyahoga Falls) in 3D exterior landscape design.
·Troy Ransom (Lyndhurst) in small engine repair
·Megan Schafer (Lakemore) in irrigation troubleshooting
·Beth Whipple (Mentor) in annual and perennial identification.
Tri-C has emerged as a powerhouse in the competition, with a handful of Top 5 finishes in the past six years. This year’s placing matched the 2016 effort for the College’s top ranking.
Pictures courtesy of Cuyahoga Community College
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