Student Challenge

The SFMA Student Challenge is presented in partnership with the SAFE Foundation, Founding Partner Hunter Industries and supporting sponsor Ewing. Each year students from 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities across the country compete in an exam that challenges knowledge in the sports field industry. The winning teams receive a cash award, a plaque and medallions for each team member. The prize money benefits the institution’s turfgrass science program and creates opportunities for students pursuing a career in sports field management.

The 2024 SFMA Student Collegiate Challenge Study Guide is now available! Please be sure to thoroughly review the Study Guide in preparation for the competition.

The 2024 Student Challenge will take place Wednesday, January 24 from 2-4:30 pm at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort. Registration opens October 16, so start thinking about your team now! A maximum of four undergraduates can compete on a team and must declare if they are representing a two-year or four-year institution. Competitors receive complimentary conference registration. You must be an SFMA member to participate.
All Student Challenge competitors are REQUIRED to register online before December 15. No paper registration forms will be accepted.

The SFMA Student Challenge is presented in partnership with the SAFE Foundation, Founding Partner Hunter Industries, and supporting sponsor Ewing.

SFMA Student Challenge Participant Code of Conduct and Eligibility Requirements

Code of Conduct
As a participant in the SFMA Student Challenge and a guest of SFMA, SAFE, and the sponsors of the event, all participating students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional, courteous and responsible manner while at the SFMA Conference and Exhibition.


  • Participants in the SFMA Student Challenge competing on a two-year team may compete in no more than three total Student Challenge events.
  • Participants in the SFMA Student Challenge competing on a four-year team may compete in no more than five total Student Challenge events.
  • Students who have transferred from a two-year program to a four-year program may compete in up to five total Student Challenge events.
  • Graduate students are not eligible to participate.

Should a student be deemed to be in violation of policies by authorized SFMA staff or volunteers, the team/school that the student represents may be disqualified from current and future SFMA Student Challenge competitions and will be asked to pay for the Conference registration of all team members and forfeit all awards. Please contact Jennifer McLendon, SFMA Education Manager, with any questions regarding these policies at 800.323.3875 or jmclendon@sportsfieldmanagement.org.


Comfort Inn & Suites Daytona Beach Oceanfront
103 S Ocean Ave, Daytona Beach, FL 32118

Room Rate is $159/night plus taxes and fees for single or double occupancy.

Click here to make your reservation or call 386-252-2378.

Previous SFMA Student Challenge Winners

Click here for a complete list of Student Challenge winning teams.

Congratulations to all of the student participants in the 2023 SFMA Student Challenge! For final results, click here.

2023 Two Year Winners – Penn State Team 402
Nicholas Risso, Jacob Irvin, Garrett Taylor, Matthew Hamel

2023 Four Year Winners – Purdue Team 404
Emma Seward, Jacob Winger, Drew Coe, William Myrehn