|2012 GCSAA Collegiate Turf Bowl Champions. From left to right: Isaac Mertz, Casey Sheehy, Dan Strey, and Shane Lohman.|
Q: Where are you from? What’s your background in turf?
A: Isaac Mertz – I’m from Perry Iowa. I grew up playing a lot of golf and always wanted to make a career out of it someway. It wasn’t until I heard about the turf program here at ISU that I knew I could make that a reality.
A: Casey Sheehy – I am from Perry, Iowa as well. I played golf all throughout high school and spent many, many hours on the course during the week and summer breaks. I first came to Iowa State as an Animal Science major before deciding to change majors. My cousins Cory and Brett Henson graduated from Iowa State in Turf and my love for the game of golf helped spark my interest to study turfgrass science.
A: Shane Lohman – At 19 I decided to work the maintenance staff for a private golf course in suburbs of St. Louis. A couple years later I worked for Superintendent Dave Klinkhammer at Greenbriar Hills Country Club. He helped guide me and continually gave me opportunities to learn new golf course management practices. After learning Dave had gone to Iowa State I knew if I wanted to become successful in this industry Iowa State was the place I needed to go to get my education.
A: Dan Strey – I’m from Cherry Valley, Illinois. I have been in the turf industry for the last three years and have completed internships at Geneva National Golf Club (Lake Geneva, WI) and Victoria National Golf Club (Newburgh, IN). I completed an A.A.S. degree in turfgrass management from Kishwaukee Community College in the spring of 2010 and graduated summa cum laude. I plan to graduate this May 2012 and will begin graduate school at Iowa State starting in the fall of 2012.
Q: What did you do to prepare for the contest?
A: Isaac Mertz – As a team we would get together 2 to 3 times a week and even on weekends. As far as day to day stuff, I don’t think there has been a time over the past month and a half that I went somewhere without a set of flashcards in my pocket. I’d review them walking to class across campus, while waiting for class to start, and even while getting lunch. People would give me weird looks but you get used to it. Plus, the feeling of accomplishing what you set out to do definitely makes it all worth it.
Q: What is it like traveling home with an oversized check?
A: Dan Strey – The check had to be cut in half in order to fit on the plane. Even though it was in two pieces, it didn’t stop Shane and I from having a little fun at the Las Vegas airport. We were able to put it back together when we got home and it’s on display in the Horticulture building for everyone to see.
Q: What does ISU's success in the Turf Bowl say about the ISU turf program?
A: Shane Lohman – It speaks volumes about the level of education students receive at Iowa State. The turf professors at Iowa State are truly some of the best. They do everything they can to prepare the students with the proper education for employment after graduating. Also, the alumni of the ISU turf program are terrific we well. All week alumni were coming by the booth wishing us well and good luck in the Turf Bowl. I am very proud to be a part of the turf program at Iowa State.
Q: Who was the first person you contacted after you found out you won the Turf Bowl?
A: Isaac Mertz – The first person that I contacted was my brother. I texted him as soon as the trophy presentation was over with. After that the text messages and calls just kept coming in. It’s amazing how fast the word got out and definitely something I will never forget.