The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the national Animal Society of Animal Science (ASAS) Academic Quadrathlon to a virtual competition. That didn’t slow down the Mizzou Academic Quadrathlon team.
After winning their regional competition, MU finished tied for first at the national competition, which was held in July. The team finished second overall after tiebreakers were taken into consideration. They finished first in the lab practical, second in the written exam and the quiz bowl, and third in the oral presentation.
“I’m super proud of the entire team and how far they’ve come,” said Addison Byrne, instructor in the Division of Animal Sciences and team advisor. “It’s an outstanding group. It was really exciting to see them work together so closely as they competed virtually.”
The Academic Quadrathlon competition includes four areas where students have the opportunity to test their animal science knowledge. The lab practical offers a hands-on test that covers species of livestock and companion animals. In the oral presentation section, students are given a topic and must present to a panel on said topic. They must also answer questions from the panel. The final parts of the competition are a written exam and quiz bowl. The exam includes multiple questions that cover various disciplines of animal science such as genetics, physiology, nutrition and reproduction. In the quiz bowl, students must buzz in to answer the asked question.
“The team works together across each leg of the competition,” Byrne said. “Our group takes a divide-and-conquer approach, where we really utilize the strengths of each team member.”
Within the virtual competition, the teams used Google Forms and Webex to compete. Webex is a video conferencing software, and students were able to present and answer questions through that platform.
The Mizzou team included Jacob Blank, senior in agriculture education, and Madison Filley, Emily Shanks and Anna Tarpey, who are all first-year students at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine and earned animal sciences degrees from CAFNR.
“The virtual national competition was really fun to watch,” Byrne said. “Our team’s competitive spirit was definitely on display. They were obviously a little disappointed that the tiebreaker didn’t go our way, but it was still a great effort.”
The Academic Quadrathlon competition showcases the “RISE” initiative, which includes Research, International, Service learning and Experiential learning. The competition falls under the Experiential learning section, which offers learning experiences outside the classroom, through industry engagement, internship programs and learning laboratories.