Pennsylvania Sweeps 2024 National Holstein Dairy Bowl Contests - Cowsmo

Pennsylvania Sweeps 2024 National Holstein Dairy Bowl Contests

It was a clean sweep for Pennsylvania in the dairy bowl contest at the National Junior Holstein Convention held in Salt Lake City, UT. Both the junior and senior teams remained undefeated throughout the National Holstein Dairy Bowl contests and etched their names in the history books as the 2024 champions. These teams representing the Keystone state built upon an already dominant legacy. Pennsylvania has appeared in the dairy bowl finals 34 times in the last 44 years, winning 19 titles.

The juniors from Susquehanna, PA made history as the first team from their county to compete at the National Holstein Convention. They were unwavering under pressure in their pursuit of a national championship. Aiden Empet, Ian Briechle, Selah Lewis, and Madison Soden worked as a team to tally points and earn bonus questions leading them to five wins and some hardware to bring home.

“I went to many state conventions and didn’t do so well, but I continued to work and made it to the quiz bowl finals at the state convention in both 2022 and 2023. My team then lost both years, but I knew what my goal for this year was,” said junior team captain Ian Briechle. “This year I came to the state convention with three new teammates who put hours of work in with the goal of winning. We were able to go undefeated in the state and punch our ticket to the National Convention for the first time in Susquehanna Junior Holstein history.”

Their ability to work hard as a team while finding a way to have fun has been an integral part to this team’s journey. Many members mentioned the importance of enjoying the process and remaining calm despite the immense pressure. Their coach, Dr. Mike Kowalski, has been a key role model and encouragement to the team as well.

“Getting ready for the competitions requires a lot of time and practice. It’s important to have fun and not be serious all the time,” said Aiden Empet. He enjoys the group of friends he has found through being involved in the Junior Holstein Association.

“I’ve made lifelong friends and I’m so glad to have been part of this team. Everyone gets along, and even when stakes are high, they find a way to have fun,” said teammate Madison Soden.

Selah Lewis started her dairy bowl journey in 2023 and helped her team to a national title in 2024. She shared the intimidation she experienced at her first practice when her teammates had years of notes and knowledge under their belt.

“Everyone was very helpful and we started to build my notebook and study,” said Lewis. “We learned a lot about dairy cows but there is always more to learn!”

The senior division team from Lancaster, PA utilized their veteran experiences to win four straight matches and earn their own championship. Several of the team members have experienced the national finals in previous years with Jacob Bramm being part of the junior team that took the top spot in 2017.

At one point during the National Holstein Convention, it was unclear if the team would make it to Salt Lake City due to flight delays and cancellations in Philadelphia, PA. Through perseverance and several itinerary adjustments, the team made it just in time to take the dairy knowledge exam the evening before the contest.

From his years of experience, Jacob’s advice to younger members would be “to just have fun at conventions. It’s not always about winning, take the time to get to know some people and make memories.” As he concludes several years of studying and preparation, Bramm mentioned the biggest lesson he has learned is teamwork. “It is so important. If you can trust your team members and also help them out, you get more accomplished.”

Team captain Madelynn Hoffman has been competing in dairy bowl for eight years. She has enjoyed competing alongside her teammates. “We are all from the same county and have practiced together for a long time. Each member of this team is an asset. We all know different questions which allow us to obtain several bonuses in competitions.”

She believes her team’s determination and cohesiveness aided their win at the National Holstein Convention. Madelynn shared her advice to younger members, “If you work hard it’ll take you places and always enjoy whatever it is you choose to do.”

Madelynn spent the competition sitting next to her younger sister, Alexa Hoffman. Alexa expressed her appreciation for the many hours that her coaches put into helping the team prepare for competitions. They are coached by Tammy Weaver, Madison Weaver, Betsy Pownall, Psuche Hoffman, and Amber Pownall.

“We all dedicated our time and committed to learning the knowledge of the dairy industry. We worked together and trusted each other during each of our rounds at states and this eventually led us to nationals.”

She hopes that younger members know that no one is going to do it for you. “It is up to you to put in the work and then collaborate with a team to be the best you can be,” said Alexa Hoffman.

The senior team also included AJ Wanner who worked hard alongside his teammates leading up to the contest and contributed greatly to achieving bonus questions.

While their tenure as dairy bowl contestants have come to a close, these seniors have learned lessons and industry knowledge that will benefit them in future endeavors.

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