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Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Macey's bagger Andrew Hadlock, winner of the national bagging championship, does a bagging demonstration at Macey's in Sandy on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014.

SANDY — Who says you can’t make money bagging groceries?

A 22-year old Sandy college student took home $10,000 as the winner of the national bagging championship on Feb. 11 in Las Vegas. Andrew Hadlock beat out 26 other bagging experts from around the country and was named the National Grocers Association’s Best Bagger Champion.

The competition was judged on speed, proper bag building technique (yes, there is a lot of skill involved), distribution of weight between bags, style, attitude and appearance.

While it was his first time winning the overall competition, this was not Hadlock’s first time in the finals. He won the Utah state title twice before, in 2009 and 2010, and followed up those victories with third-place finishes at the national level.

This year was his year, having returned from a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“It was much more difficult to go through the state competition,” Hadlock said. “This year was really intense (at the state level) because there were other previous winners as well myself.”

In addition, to the $10,000 grand prize, Hadlock received a “Golden Grocery Bag” trophy, and a Pan-Oston golden checkout stand that will be installed at the Sandy Macey’s. Previous competitions netted the bagger about $4,000 in prize money.

On Friday, the store held a celebration to recognize Hadlock for his accomplishment and show off his newly acquired hardware to go along with his various other state awards.

On the day of the finals, Hadlock said, he was nervous, but he was buoyed by a cheering section of about 40 family members and co-workers who made the trip to support him.

“When the final round came, I was really confident in what I was doing and believed I could win and knew that I had the capability to win,” he said.

Hadlock is the fourth Macey’s employee to take the national title, along with Emily Jensen of Macey’s West Jordan in 2005, Brian Bay of Macey’s Sandy in 2007 and Erika Jensen (Emily’s sister) of Macey’s West Jordan in 2008.

Hadlock is working full-time at Macey’s in addition to working toward his associate degree at Salt Lake Community College before pursing a business degree at a four-year school upon graduation.

Email: jlee@deseretnews.com, Twitter: JasenLee1