Almost all in the family
WINDOM -- Sisters Molly, Abby and Natalie Resch, along with teammate Ryan Helmoski, combined to earn a fifth place finish in the Farm Business Management contest at the National FFA Convention late last week in Indianapolis, Ind. It was an incredible achievement for a team Windom FFA Advisor Darcy Dahna said didn't exist until about a year ago.
"It's not an easy contest to pick up -- it's like a six-hour math story problem that you get four hours to do," said Dahna.
The team of Molly and Abby Resch, and Abby's best friend, Ryan, began preparing for the region contest last October, and went on to earn first place at the Minnesota FFA Convention this spring.
While Molly graduated from high school last spring and is now a freshman studying actuary science at a college in Nebraska, she was determined to see the team through the national contest and studied as much as she could to prep for the contest.
Meanwhile, when Molly's younger sister, Natalie, joined the FFA this fall as a freshman, Dahna decided to add her to the team's arsenal as well. Both Abby and Ryan are seniors this year.
"Our qualifying team only had three people on it and we had the option of adding the fourth person," Dahna said. At the national contest, only the top three individual scores on a team are counted.
All four of the team members scored high enough to earn a gold ranking individually, but it was high school senior Abby who led the team. After placing second individually in the state contest, she garnered fourth place in the national contest, besting approximately 155 other FFA members.
Abby was seated next to her dad and team coach, Tom Resch, when her name was called as the fourth place individual.
"My dad turned and looked at me with an expression like, 'I can't believe you got in there,' and then a big smile saying 'I'm so proud of you!' without actually saying anything," Abby shared after school on Monday. Her dad has coached the team from the get-go, using his experience in ag finance. He works for AgStar.
For her high finish, Abby received a $600 scholarship award and a certificate, while the team received a plaque.
Abby is the middle sister of the Resch girls, encouraged to join the team both by her older sister, Molly, and her dad.
"My older sister is a big math person, so Dad told her a good contest for her was farm business management," Abby said. It didn't take long before Molly put the pressure on for Abby to help form a team.
"It was either suffer through the entire season or say yes, so I said yes and recruited my best friend, who is good at math as well," Abby said.
Dahna said the Farm Business Management contest has FFA members working through a farm's financials. They are supplied with background history of a farm and need to work up a financial statement and determine how the farmer can maximize profits.
"It's pretty much all economics and business questions," she said. "Not most people can do that, let alone kids."
Abby said their team benefited by having three sisters who grew up with parents who both deal with math in their careers.
"Molly's a math person, so I guess it's in the blood," she said.
The three-hour-long contest at the National FFA convention consisted of nine different parts, and Abby said she had a better grasp of the budgeting, family living and cash flow segments, while economic principals and marketing are more of a struggle for her.
Abby, Natalie and Ryan are all enrolled in advanced math classes at Windom High School.
"They're really smart kids and they had a really great coach, so I knew they would do well," said Dahna, adding it was still a shock when they learned of their fifth place finish.
"It was a pretty good team," surmised Natalie, adding that during this year's FFA judging season, she, Abby and Ryan will combine efforts on the food science team. It's a team Ryan is already familiar with, having competed in the food science contests before moving over to the Farm Business Management team his junior year.
"I was pretty excited --and really excited for Abby when she got fourth," Ryan said.
FFA judging teams from Jackson and Mountain Lake also did exceptionally well in contests with three of their teams garnering top 10 finishes.
Mountain Lake FFA's agronomy team placed fourth of 34 teams in the contest, with all four team members earning gold emblems for their strong individual scores. Team members included Daniel Harder, Caleb Rempel, Eric Niss and Hamlet Tanyavong.
Jackson County Central, which had three teams in competition, garnered a sixth place finish in meat evaluation and technology, a ninth place finish in environmental science and a bronze ranking in vet science.
The meat evaluation contest included 42 teams. Jackson County Central FFA members on the school team included Matt Schmit, Josh Cristoffer and Ben Stubbe, all earning gold rankings for their individual scores, and Jordan Snyder, who earned a silver ranking individually.
JCC's environmental and natural resources team included a 10th place individual finish by Joey Boyer. His teammates, Brady Bass and Peter Nasby scored in the top 45 individually, all to earn gold rankings. They were joined by Ethan Voss, who received a bronze ranking for his individual score. There were 40 teams competing in the environmental and natural resources CDE.
Vet Science team members competing were Angela Holthe, Samantha Swift, Taylor Boell and Hunter Klontz.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.