If you could bottle the enthusiasm of the turf students at last night's kick-off event for the 2013 Collegiate Turf Bowl, you'd be a billionaire.
They're smart, eager, funny, ambitious as heck, and they're also the future of our industry.
Here's a look at just a handful of the teams competing in today's event.
Cal Poly University, Pomona, Calif.
Fernando Moran is a graduating senior of this group, and his area of study has been cutting units and growth and development. Each student was assigned a particular topic to cover all possible topics on the test today. Mostly plant science majors, they're hoping to get jobs as superintendents post-college. This team placed in the top 10 2 years ago, and they're hoping to repeat the feat.
Like other teams, the Salukis assigned each student a different category. One student is focused on water management, business management, and growth & development. They've gotten together for a few group studies and are hoping to place. They placed in the top 10 a few years ago.
Rutgers has three teams in all competing in this year's Turf Bowl. One student believed equipment to be a slight weakness, but they're confident in their collective knowledge. They placed at last month's STMA student competition, and they're hopeful for the outcome of today's test. These kids are interested in going into sports turf, IPM studies, post-graduate work as well as the superintendent profession.
Expectations are high for the University of Maryland -- last year they had teams that placed third and seventh. They've been studying for weeks in groups and with practice tests. They all expressed a desire to become superintendents. They placed first at STMA's event in Daytona last month.
With 8 students in all from UMass, they've got two teams competing this year. Coming from a school with a base of active alums, these students are feeling very confident about upending long-time champion Iowa State. They took second last year. All of the UMass students are pursuing careers as superintendents.
Two years ago, they placed 10th at this competition, and they're looking to do it again this year. One student specializes in insects, and they all hope to become superintendents after college.