Polk Co. quartet top national Dairy Bowl contest

Wisconsin State Farmer
Marie Haase, from left, Courtney Glenna, Katherine Elwood, and Grace Haase of Polk County won the senior division of the National Holstein Dairy Bowl Contest in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

A group of four women from Polk County bested a team from the West Coast to win the senior division of the National Holstein Dairy Bowl Contest in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The team’s victory which pitted the "Women of Wisconsin" against the "California Girls", was just the third national title for Wisconsin in the 40 years the contest has been held. Wisconsin had a national champion senior team in 2003 and 2002, according to the news release.

The National Holstein Foundation Dairy Bowl, a premier event designed to test the knowledge of youth, took place at the Holstein Association USA Convention, June 21 to 24, 2021.

Dairy Bowl is a program where youth gain knowledge in dairy nutrition, milk quality, herd health, breeding and genetics, marketing, dairy foods, calf raising, and all cattle breeds.

Battling back from the consolation bracket, the team outscored their opponents 1120 to 452 over eight matches and earned several bonus questions when multiple team members correctly answered toss-up questions.

The team from Wisconsin included four members of Polk County Holstein Association, while the team from California was comprised of the top four individuals from the entire state. The Polk County team proved their mettle by going undefeated through the district and state contests on their way to the national contest in June.

Team captain Marie Haase, a senior at UW-River Falls competed on the National Reserve Champion Dairy Bowl Team in 2018 and had just one year of dairy bowl eligibility remaining. In the 2021 contest, she placed second on the written exam used to seed the teams. 

Marie Haase (team captain), delivers the answer to a bonus question after getting input from Courtney Glenna, Grace Haase, and Katherine Elwood

Grace Haase, a sophomore at River Falls, placed fifth at the All-American Dairy Show’s FFA Dairy Judging Contest and won the calf portion in the National Junior Dairy Management Contest in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 

Katherine Elwood will be attending UW-River Falls this fall. Elwood placed third at the All-American Dairy Show’s FFA Dairy Judging Contest and earned a Gold Medal at the National FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management Contest where her team placed third. 

Rounding out the team is Courtney Glenna who will be a senior year at Amery High School where she will serve as FFA President. She had the high score on the written test at the National FFA contest with her team placing third.

This was not the first time this combination of four was on the same team. They also participated in the Cream of the Crop Management contest in 2018, where they were the top team, amassing the most points in this multi-state contest’s 10-year history.

Grace, Katherine, and Courtney were all team members on the winning National 4-H Dairy Bowl team in 2019 and the winning national team for the 4-H North American Dairy Educational Experience in 2020. Grace served as team captain in 2019 and Marie was team captain of the 2018 Reserve National Champion 4-H Dairy Bowl Team and earned the highest score on the written test.

The team was coached by Gwen Dado and Patti Hurtgen.

“Having a team excel at this level takes thousands of hours – not just at group practices, but studying on their own and reading trade magazines to stay up-to-date on industry news," said Hurtgen, adding that the girl's farm background served as a big advantage. "They could pull from those years of farm chores and family discussions to mitigate through challenging questions."