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The Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology

State discussion contest winners

Black and team sweep state discussion titles 

(Dec. 1, 2022) - Fresno State senior senior agricultural education major Brendan Black and the Fresno State discussion squad combined to win its fifth straight state team title at the event hosted Saturday by the California Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers. 

In the individual contest, Black won top honors for Fresno State's eighth victory since 2011 (and the Tulare native was also a finalist at the event in 2021).

In their event debuts, senior Aalexias Woolf (Bakersfield) added runner-up honors, and junior Clayton Merrill (Los Alamos) was among the four event finalists.

Other team members included sophomores Evan Bockman (Visalia), Allison Lemm (Hickman) and Emma Tripp (Bakersfield) and freshman Cameron Ivy (Merced).

Fresno State's strong individual efforts led to its 10th team victory since 2006 (and under the capable guidance of faculty Dr. Steven Rocca and Dr. Avery Culbertson).

Black won $1,250 for his state title and will compete at the American Farm Bureau national discussion contest in Jacksonville, Florida in March 2023. 

Additional prizes went to Woolf (first runner-up, $750), Merrill (finalist, $500) and the team (first prize, $250). 

Other recent Fresno State individual state champions included Austin LaSalle (2021), Abigail Carlson (2017), Hunter Berry (2016), Levy Randolph (2014), Jake Carlson (2013), Tino Rossi (2011) and Jackie Mundt (2008). 

The team also won state titles in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2008 and 2006.


Past Fresno State - State /National Discussion Contest Finishes (2006-2022)

2006 State team champion

2006 Jackie Mundt, 2nd state; Joel Saldana, 4th state

2007 Joel Saldana, 3rd state

2008 State team champion

2008 Jackie Mundt, state champion; Joel Saldana, 2nd state

2010 Vikki Hoveln, 2nd state

2011 Tino Rossi, state champion; Audra Roland, 4th state

2012 Tino Rossi, national champion

2012 Jake Carlson, state top 4 finalist

2013 State team champion

2013 Jake Carlson, state champion, Audra Roland, 2nd state

2013 Jodi Raley, state top 4 finalist

2014 State team champion

2014 Levy Randolph, state champion; Jodi Raley, state top 4 finalist (3rd)

2014 Jake Carlson, national semi-finalist (sweet 16 qualifier)

2015 Levy Randolph, national champion

2015 Jodi Raley, state top 4 finalist 

2016 State team champion

2016 Jacob Vazquez, state top 4 finalist

2016 Hunter Berry, state champion

2017 Hunter Berry, national semifinalist

2017 (winter 2018) Abigail Carlson ,state champion; Emma Briggs, state runner-up

2018 State team champion

2018 Tim Truax, national champion

2019 State team champion

2019 Samuel Looper, state champion

2020 State team champion

2020 Samuel Looper, national semifinalist 

2020 Austin La Salle, state champion; Jasmine Flores, 2nd state, Andrew Skidmore, top 4 finalist

2021 Austin La Salle, national semifinalist

2021 Lindsay Swall, state runner-up; Brendan Black state, top 4 finalist

2021 State team champion

2022 Brendan Black, individual champion; Aalexias Woolf, 2nd state, Clayton Merrill, top 4 finalist

2022 State team champion

* Faculty member Dr. Steven Rocca guided the team from 2006-2021 (Dr. Avery Culbertson took over team in 2022)