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CASNR’s cutting-edge judging teams prepare to defend national championships

CASNR’s cutting-edge judging teams prepare to defend national championships

While athletic teams have been training for weeks for the onset of the fall sports season, two Texas Tech University teams have been preparing just as hard to defend their national championship titles. The Meat Judging Team and the Livestock Judging Team, both in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, won the country’s top titles in their fields last year.

“The current team had a very competitive spring semester of judging, and they came back from the summer break highly motivated to capture the program’s fifth national championship in the last six years,” said Brady Ragland, the assistant livestock judging coach alongside longtime coach Ryan Rathmann. “This particular team started out a little green early in the season, but what they lacked in experience they have made up for with hard work and dedication. They are a team full of talented, livestock-minded people, but more importantly they are a team of great character.”

The livestock team includes Ryan Rotramel from Devine, and Alyssa Smith from Michigantown, Ind., both agricultural education majors; Segayle Foster of Lockney, and Levi Schaefer of Garden City, both agricultural economics majors, and Cade Luckett of Matador; Luke Strecker of Lexington, Va.; Travis Begley of Plainview; Ryan Boldt of Longmont, Colo.; Zach Smith of Sweetwater; Drew Cashman of New Windsor, Md.; Dakotah Williams of Glen Rose; Whitney Stuart of Fresno, Calif.; and Mandy-Jo Laurent of Nacodoches, all animal science majors.

“We’re working very hard to uphold the tradition that has been established here at Tech,” said team member Alyssa Smith. “We travel to the National Barrow Show this week and that starts the crazy journey to Louisville in a few months. We are very excited and anxious to see what the future holds, and we just hope that our hard work pays off so we can bring home the bull and another national championship.”

The meat judging team is coached by Mark Miller, a professor in Meat Science and the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Distinguished Chair in Meat Science, and graduate students Collin Corbin and Henry Ruiz. “This is a unique group of kids that truly give a definition to the word team,” Corbin said. “They are a genuine group of hard-working people who are selfless and care about each other, as well as keeping Texas Tech meat judging tradition alive in “striving for Honor in the Pursuit of Excellence.”

The meat judging team is aiming to bring home Texas Tech’s tenth National Championship and the fourth in the last five years. Corbin said the contest that matters most is Nov. 18, which is the International Intercollegiate Contest. The team’s main objective is getting the students’ minds focused only on meat judging. “This comes from dedication and sacrifice. They need to be mentally sound; I know they can evaluate, however they must make the least mistakes,” Corbin said.

The meat judging team includes Trevor King, a junior agricultural communications major from Winnsboro; Dan Crownover, a junior from Italy, and Garydale Grubelnik, a senior from Raton, N.M., both interdisciplinary agriculture majors; Colton Christian of Farwell and Zachary Miller of Seymour, both junior agricultural economics majors; and Tanner Adams of Sanger; Steven Ebeling of Plainview; Weston Burson of Florence; Bo Hutto of Hondo; Valerie Manning of Mabank; Dewayne Phillips of Stephenville; and Heather Rode of Doss, all junior animal science majors.

“We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to continue judging throughout the fall and defend the national championship,” said team member Steven Ebeling. “Being a part of a judging team is bigger than just you or me, it’s about not only winning and representing Texas Tech, but it is about becoming a better person. It is important as a member of the Meat Judging Team, or any team for that matter, we hold ourselves to the highest standards. We strive to always be accountable and live our lives in a way that positively reflects Texas Tech University.”

Written by Leslie Cranford

CONTACT: Leslie Thompson, chairman and professor, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at 806-742-2805, ext 224 or leslie.thompson@ttu.edu

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