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Hays High FFA scores high marks

11/8/2013

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.net

Now this could take some getting used to.

As Curt Vajnar read off the results of the Northwest District high school FFA dairy judging contest Thursday afternoon, he found himself saying "Hays" -- a lot -- in reference to winners from Hays High School.

And while he stoically announced the list of medalists, the Hays High FFA adviser had to be feeling good.

Hays High swept the top five individual places in the greenhand division for first-year FFA members to run away with the team trophy with 1,066 points, nearly 100 points ahead of runner-up Russell.

HHS also placed three in the top seven in the senior division to win that team title as well.

The best part about all that is those three winners were sophomores.

"We've got a real solid group in those younger grades," said Vajnar, who has coached plenty a talented team in his 24-plus years at Hays High. "If they all stay together, they could do well in the next couple of years."

The 10th medalist in the greenhand division Thursday also was from Hays High, and he isn't even a full-time high school student. Henry Jiang, an eighth-grader at Hays Middle School, takes a math class at Hays High, which is on a block schedule where classes meet every other day.

So the class Jiang chose on the opposite days of his math class was introduction to agriculture.

In addition, another talented freshman, Conrad Vajnar, the FFA adviser's son, didn't place in the top 10 Thursday because he scored low in one of the six classes.

The younger Vajnar still is faring well in his first high school competition; he qualified for next spring's state meet in creed speaking with his second-place finish at that competition earlier this fall.

The race for the top three individual spots was close in the senior division.

Norton senior Kolton Harding recorded the top individual score with a 367, edging Logan sophomore Regan Kats by two points. Hays High sophomore Keith Dryden was just two points in back of Kats in third.

Norton nearly caught Hays High in the senior division.

Led by Harding and sophomore teammate Peyton Renner, who placed sixth, Norton finished with 1,055 points. But it couldn't match the consistency of Hays High (1,070 points), which featured sophomores Dryden, Amanda Miller and Wade Woydziak all placing within nine points of each other in third, fifth and seventh places, respectively.

HHS' five freshmen who swept the top five places in the greenhand division were Marie Revelas, Laura Montgomery and Katie Fross, who were all within three points of each other at 1-2-3, followed by classmates Lane Pfannenstiel and Madison Funk.

Seventeen schools competed at the various FFA events on the campus, which also included milk quality products and food science and technology.