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Texas Tech meat judging team wins national championship

Texas Tech University is the newly crowned champion of intercollegiate meat judging. The team was named 2008 National Champion Intercollegiate Meat Judging Team at the recent international intercollegiate competition on Nov. 16 in Dakota City, Neb.

Other top finishers in the contest were South Dakota State University, Colorado State University, Texas A&M University and the University of Florida, which finished second through fifth, respectively.

“This win marks the team’s fifth consecutive victory,” said Mark Miller, professor of meat science and muscle biology. “They were able to reap the rewards of continually pursuing excellence by completing a perfect fall judging season.”

Texas Tech won the beef grading, pork judging, lamb judging, specifications, reasons and total beef divisions, and finished fourth in the beef judging and placing divisions.

Team members were:
• Tyler Cowie, a junior from Magnolia
• Paden Daniels, a senior from Athol, Kansas
• Shayna Dunlap, a junior from Estancia, NM
• Ben Estes, a senior from Hollis, Okla.
• Matthew Morales, a senior from Santana, Kansas
• Heather Veltri , a junior from Ft. Collins, Colo.
• Shanna Ward, a junior from Coffeyville, Kansas

Four team members were recognized in the top-10 individuals overall. Daniels and Estes were named 2008 First Team All-American Team Members. Ward was named a 2008 Second Team All-American Team Member. Members of the All-American teams were selected based upon scholastic achievement and competition performance.

The team is coached by graduate students Jesse Collins and Justin Derington and supervised by Miller.

Earlier this season the Texas Tech team won the Cargill Meat Solutions High Plains Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest on Nov. 2 in Plainview, and earned a first-place finish Oct. 19 with a win at the American Royal in Omaha, Neb. Other honors include a win at the Eastern National on Oct. 4 in Pennsylvania, and a win at Houston Livestock Show contest last March.

Meat judging at Texas Tech dates back to 1938 when the school implemented a meat judging program in the Department of Animal Science. The first meat judging team to win national championship honors was in 1989. That national championship was followed by wins at the international contest in 1991, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2003 and 2008.

Written by Norman Martin

CONTACT: Markus Miller, SALE chair – Meat Science, Food Processing & Preservation, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2805 ext. 231 or

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