By Madison McGrath | May 1, 2024
Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences 

USU Places First in Regional Academic Quadrathlon for Second Consecutive Year  

By Madison McGrath | May 1, 2024


Photo caption: USU’s 2024 Academic Quadrathlon team is (left to right) Coach Brett Bowman, Jaymen Brough, Chance Simpson, Joe Biesinger, and Garrett Potter.

This spring, Utah State University hosted the Western Section of the American Society of Animal Science Regional Academic Quadrathlon. Drawing in top-tier students on teams from esteemed colleges across the western region, the event showcased the academic skills and competitive spirit of students from Colorado State University, Chico State University, Montana State University, Brigham Young University-Idaho, San Luis Obispo College, New Mexico State University, Oregon State University, and of course, USU.

Spanning two days, the competition was marked by intense rivalry and impressive displays of knowledge and skill. As the final rounds approached, tensions rose, and spectators eagerly awaited the outcome. Ultimately, USU's team placed first, taking the top spot two years in a row. Chico State University secured the second position, with Oregon State University following closely behind in third place.

The Academic Quadrathlon comprised four rigorous challenges, each designed to assess different aspects of animal agriculture knowledge and proficiency. The laboratory practicum event tested team members' physical skills and dexterity across multiple stations, each focusing on specific aspects of different species or disciplines such as animal nutrition. The written exam challenged participants to demonstrate their depth of understanding within a 60-minute timeframe, covering a wide array of topics related to animal production.

USU team member Chance Simpson explained, “Our team's biggest challenge was definitely the oral presentation. We are all pretty smart, but when it comes down to creativity, we struggle so we had to look back to our local fall competition and learn from the mistakes that we made there. It paid off because ultimately our success in the oral presentation part put us over the top of the tougher schools that we were up against.” 

Simpson added that teams face unique challenges in the lab portion of the competition because they never know what to expect. However, those challenges ultimately made the event the most fun.
“The most rewarding thing about the Academic Quadrathlon is at first not knowing something but figuring it out by talking through it with the team,” Simpson said. “Ultimately, we just went in with our own intuition using the skills and knowledge that we have gained from our classes at USU and other lifetime experiences.”

The oral presentation segment of the competition allowed teams to delve into chosen topics in the broad realm of animal agriculture. With only an hour to prepare, team members collaborated to deliver compelling presentations using provided materials, showcasing their ability to think critically and communicate effectively. Finally, the quiz bowl brought the event to an exciting conclusion with rapid-fire questions about various aspects of animal agriculture. From individual toss-up questions to team-based bonus rounds that required strategic collaboration, this segment tested both individual knowledge and team cohesion.

USU team member Garrett Potter said, “I think the most challenging part was staying focused throughout the whole competition. We had the mindset though of ‘If you aren't first, you are last.’ I think the biggest thing that set us apart is that we were all well-rounded students, but we each had something different to contribute as well. There were really no unexpected challenges that we faced other than some people didn't like how much fun we were having at times.”

The best advice Potter has for anyone who wants to enter Academic Quadrathlon is something he learned from this year’s competition, “Just have fun. Life is too short not to enjoy it and have fun. It is the little things in life that will make you smile the most, especially when you have good people around you.”

Simpson said, he thinks the best thing the team members learned is to delegate tasks.

“In the lab portion you have to do so much in such a short amount of time that you have to spread out the work, but we also needed to collaborate on certain things, so it was good to be able to break it up and then come back together to fact-check one another and make sure we had all the right answers,” he said. “Make sure that you have a well-rounded team. If you're all horse people or dairy people, then you will only do well in one section. Get a group that has varied experience and knowledge because there is so much that you need to know to do well. And it's also important to be on a team where you're going to have fun and learn something.”

Members of the winning team were Jaymen Brough, Chance Simpson, Joe Biesinger, and Garrett Potter, and they are coached by USU Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences Department faculty member Brett Bowman.


Madison McGrath