Grapeland FFA Captures National Title

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

 INDIANAPOLIS – The National FFA Convention was held this past week and the FFA chapters from Houston County were well represented.

Four of the chapters also traveled to the Hoosier state to participate in a national competition. The National Invitational Quiz Contest was held on Oct. 24 and when the results were calculated, the tabulations showed five teams from Houston County had placed in the top 30 – nationwide!

The Sr. Quiz team from the Grapeland FFA chapter rebounded from a second place finish in 2016 to capture the 2017 championship and in the process, laid claim to their fourth title in five years with a team score of 237, 20 points higher than the second place finisher from Amery, Wis.

Representing the Sandies and Sandiettes were GHS Juniors: Amy Crook, who finished with a total score of 81 to secure the high point-individual total; Taylor Pennington, who scored 79 and was the fourth high-point individual; J.D. Martin, who picked up his third national championship with the fifth best score of 77; and Mark Hanna who scored a 58 to finish as the as the 14th high-point individual.

Not only did the Grapeland team capture first in the Sr. Quiz Division, the FFA chapter from the Queen City of the Sand Flats also finished fourth in the Jr. Quiz contest. Cayden LeBlanc notched a 64 to finish 11th individually; Madilyn McCombs scored a 61 and finished 15th;; Mary Jane Watson tallied a 56 and fished 18th ; and rounding out the team was Preslie Reynolds with a score of 49 for 28th place.

Nipping at the heels of the Grapeland FFA was the Crockett FFA Team One who finished seventh overall with a team score of 151. The team was comprised of Elian Villanueva with a score of 63 (ninth); Brianna Kirksey with a score of 47 (32nd); Maggie Gardner with a score of 41 (49th); and Cassie Murphree with a score of 37 (67th).

The Lovelady FFA also made its presence known with a 17th place finish and a combined point total of 117. Colby Tullos recorded a 45 which placed him 36th. Haley Pitts carded a 37 for 67th place, Jamie Welch had a score of 35 and finished in 85th place and Lauren Cimrhanzl finished with a 34 for 87th place.

The Crockett FFA also brought a second team to the competition which finished in 24th position with a score of 107. Crockett FFA’s Team Two consisted of: Keyshaw Tinsley with a score of 38 (64th place); Morgan Hartt with a score of 37 (67th place); Shabess Johnson with a score of 32 (95th place); and Yazaret Marcelo with a score of 24 (138th place).

The Latexo FFA chapter was also entered in the contest and finished in 30th position with a score of 95. The team consisted of Julissa Chavez with a score of 35 (85th place); Harli Brent with a score of 31 (107th place); Taylor Upshaw with a score of 29 (117th place); and Madison Land with a score of 24 (138th place).

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at