Livestock Judging Team takes fourth at national championships in Louisville
By: George Watson
Despite having two individuals in the top 10 overall, the Texas Tech University Livestock Judging Team came up shy of their third-straight national championship crown at the 2017 National Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest in Louisville, Kentucky.
The team, from the Department of Animal & Food, sought the 10th championship in school history and fourth this decade, but finished with 4,625 points. Oklahoma State University, which had the top two individuals and four in the top 10, won the contest with 4,719 points. Kansas State University (4,669), Western Illinois University (4,638), Texas Tech and South Dakota State University (4,614) comprised the top five.
"The students on the 2017 Livestock Judging Team were a very special group of highly intelligent and highly talented individuals," said Ryan Rathmann, the John W. and Doris Jones professor of beef cattle biology in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences, who supervises the team.
"They accomplished a lot, like winning the prestigious American Royal Livestock Judging Contest in Kansas City. But most of all, they always represented Texas Tech with honor and class. I look for them to be big-time contributors in their chosen fields and impactful leaders in their respective communities. I'm very proud of them."
The finish brings to an end a very successful fall season. Texas Tech captured overall victories at the Flinthills/Mid-America competition in Hutchinson, Kansas, and the American Royal Livestock Judging Contest in Kansas City. Texas Tech also came up a point short of opening the year with a win at the National Barrow Show.
In Louisville, Texas Tech had its best performances in the sheep judging category. The team finished third overall with 1,149 points, which included a first-place finish in sheep reasons (462) and fourth place in overall performance sheep (243).
Jim Waldrop, a senior from Moultrie, Georgia, finished second in sheep judging with 241 points, which helped him finish as the third-high individual overall with 948 points. Will Gibson, a senior from Newton, Mississippi, finished third in sheep judging with 237 points, which led to his seventh-place overall finish with 944 points.
Texas Tech finished fifth in beef judging with 1,839 points, led by the eighth-place overall finish of Gibson with 378 points. Texas Tech was fifth in beef reasons and 10th in beef performance.
Texas Tech also finished fourth in team reasons with 1,798 points and eighth in overall swine with 1,637 points.
Other members of the livestock judging team are:
• Cameron Anderson, a senior from Needville
• Jonah Biensch, a senior from Marsden, Saskatchewan, Canada
• Kaylee Casey, a senior from Malvern, Arkansas
• Mason Flack, a senior from North Henderson, Illinois
• Brayden Hawkins, a senior from Cleburne
• Preston Lawrence, a senior from Pottsboro
• Jack Redifer, a senior from Blacksburg, Virginia
• Kyle Vehige, a senior from Bonnots Mill, Missouri
• Mason Weadock, a senior from Wall
The team is coached by Jon DeClerck, a teaching assistant in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences.
CONTACT: Michael Orth, chairman, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-5653 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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