Three more state titles for Thorsby FFA

Published 11:22 am Thursday, July 9, 2020

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Thorsby FFA continued the school’s winning tradition of recent years by winning three categories in the state competition and finished third in another.

The school’s meats evaluation, poultry and vet science teams each took home the top honor in their respective fields, while horse evaluation placed third.

It was a successful year, as Thorsby placed with all four of the teams that qualified for the state tournament and three of the four earned victories.

Thorsby FFA sponsor Brian Lucas has seen firsthand over the years the amount of dedication it takes to succeed in FFA.

“It’s tough what they do, because what they do is not fun,” Lucas said. “It requires a lot of motivation on the student’s part to study and do the work necessary.”

Four students competed on each team and did so in a virtual format due to pandemic concerns.

There were obvious differences in play between the virtual competition and that of one in-person.

“We’re used to doing things with a hands-on approach,” Lucas said.

However, the students overcame the obstacles and awkwardness of the situation to post some of the best scores Thorsby FFA has ever seen.

According to Lucas, he gave his students the option to compete in the virtual competition from home or by using the classroom at the school.

“Connectivity was an issue,” Lucas said. “They all opted to come to the school.”

This allowed for a sense of normality, because even though the competition was virtual the teams were able to be around each other and work together as a team as they would have done if it had been held as originally planned.

It had been a long couple of months from when the schools were first closed in mid-March to the day FFA members were allowed to return to practice on June 1 following a statewide announcement.

“During that time, I kept telling the kids to keep faith,” Lucas said.

As if winning three categories was not impressive enough, each of the winning teams had the highest scoring individual on their rosters.

Rylie Scarbrough (vet science), Olivia Powers (poultry) and McKinley Mims (meats evaluation) all posted the highest state scores in their specializations.

Lania Prady was the highest scoring individual in the horse evaluation competition at the district level.

“I don’t know if we’ve ever had that many highest scorers at one time,” Lucas said.

The first-place finish was the highest mark the program had ever achieved in that discipline.

In a typical year, all three first-place finishers would have earned a spot at nationals.

Unfortunately, the ride of success will stop a little shorter this year following the cancellation of the national competition.

According to Lucas, the cancellation is a shame because those three teams will never get the chance to know how far they could have gone.

Lucas believes that the vet science team was showing some real potential and was a group he thought could have been a real contender on the national stage.

“They are super good,” Lucas said.

Seniors from this past year will be granted another year of eligibility to compete in FFA competitions even after having graduated.