CASNR’s Soils Judging Team shines at Region 4 Collegiate Soils Contest
By: Norman Martin
The Texas Tech University Soils Judging Team placed second at the Region 4 Collegiate Soils Contest in Stillwater, Oklahoma this month, and earned a spot in the national competition to be held at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo next spring. Three members of the team finished among the top five individuals at the contest.
Leading the way for the Red Raiders was Bryanna Edwards, a microbiology and plant and soil sciences major from Leander. She placed second in the individual competition.
Meanwhile, Mariah Mesa, a plant and soil sciences major from Tilden, was third high individual, while Sarah Pennington, an agribusiness major from Fredericksburg, Texas, placed fourth in individual.
Other members of the Tech team were Hayden Crawford, an agricultural and applied economics major from Lubbock, who placed twelfth in individual, and Rebekah Ortiz, a plant and soil sciences major from Hale Center, who placed nineteenth in individual.
Region 4 includes colleges and universities from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. About 28 individuals comprising six teams competed, including Tech, Texas A&M, Tarleton State, University of Arkansas, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and an international team coached by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service staff.
Tech's soils judging team practiced for several weeks prior to the contest, evaluating soil texture, structure, color, interpretations, and soil taxonomic classification. And during contest, which ran from October 22-26, the team traveled to Stillwater, evaluating 10 practice soil pits ahead of the contest. The event itself consists of individual and team competition.
Since 1960, Texas Tech has won the National Collegiate Soils Judging Contest four times, placing second three times. In regional competition, Texas Tech has won the contest 21 times, second place 13 times, and third place nine times.
Previous coaches of the soils judging team include internationally-recognized professors B.L. Allen and Wayne Hudnall. Today, the team is coached by David Weindorf, a Research Faculty Fellow in Tech's Office of Research and Innovation, and Professor and BL Allen Endowed Chair of Pedology in Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science. Assistant coaches for this year's contest were contest were Autumn Acree, Meagan Riley, and Fujun Sun.
The top three teams have the opportunity to compete in the national contest. The contest includes identification, evaluation, classification and description of soils, home site evaluation, and more. At the National Collegiate Soil Judging contest, the two judging events occur over two days. On the first day, the students compete as individuals and will have three pits/sites to evaluate. On the second day they evaluate two sites and are judged as a team.
CONTACT: Eric Hequet, Department Chair, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2838 or email@example.com