Texas Tech Meat Judging Team captures 11th consecutive title in Fort Worth
By: George Watson
Led by the top three individual finishes, the Texas Tech University Meat Judging Team earned its first victory of the 2020 judging season with a convincing showing at the American Meat Science Association Southwestern Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest on Sunday (Feb. 2) in Fort Worth, the 11th consecutive year for Texas Tech to win the contest. It is the longest winning streak in the contest's history.
Texas Tech rebounded from a fourth-place finish at the National Western contest in Denver earlier this semester with an impressive performance in Fort Worth, scoring 4,184 points to outdistance Big 12 Conference rivals Oklahoma State University (4,127 points) and Kansas State University (4,120) as well as in-state rival Texas A&M University (4,115). Angelo State University, a part of the Texas Tech University System, finished sixth with 3,968 points.
Texas Tech's victory came to an overall dominant performance where it finished first or second in six of the eight judging categories.
"I am so proud of the students' pursuit of excellence and their hard work and focus in preparation for the Fort Worth contest," said Mark Miller, coach of the Meat Judging Team and the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Distinguished Chair in Meat Sciences. "They did a great job of overcoming the adversity they faced from being fourth in their first contest in Denver. The humility and unselfishness they showed each other during practice made them more confident and a much closer team. They represent Texas Tech well with honor, excellence and unselfishness."
Leading the way for Texas Tech was Tatum Whitewood. The Sanger, Texas, native finished first overall with 1,063 points, taking first place in specifications and second in overall beef, beef grading, lamb judging and total placing. She finished in the top four in seven of the eight judging categories.
Close behind Whitewood in second place was Devin Gonzales. A native of Hondo, Texas, Gonzales finished just four points behind Whitewood with 1,059 points, done on the strength of a first-place finish in reasons and second-place finishes in beef judging, pork judging and specifications. He placed in the top 10 in all eight judging categories.
Rounding out the list of Texas Tech's top three finishers is Megan Burgess of Marion, Texas. She scored 1,047 points with third-place finishes in overall beef and beef judging and top-five finishes in beef grading, pork judging and reasons/questions.
Texas Tech also had the top two and six of the top 10 individual performances. Lauren Ritchie, a native of Nipomo, California, led the Texas Tech alternate team with 1,065 points, followed closely by Kamlynn Thomas from Jacksboro, Texas, in second with 1,061 points.
Other members of the Meat Judging Team are:
• Kara Belt of Houston, Texas
• Caleb Blackwell of Van Alstyne, Texas
• Korbin Clark of Blum, Texas
• Sierra Forlano of Eldorado, Texas
• Emily Franko of Valley Center, California
• Kane Friermood of Cleburne, Texas
• Jayna Grove of Corpus Christi, Texas
• Katie Mahagan of Plainview, Texas
• Breckyn LeCompte of Perryton, Texas
• Blake Medders of Quinlan, Texas
• Alex Moore of Socorro, New Mexico
• Allison Morgan of Howe, Texas
• McKenzie Owen of Morris, Oklahoma
• Alex Norwood of Katy, Texas
• Zachary Perry of Magnolia, Texas
• Ashley Richardson of Corpus Christi, Texas
• Sheridan Shallene of Bridgeport, Texas
• Adrian Sinclair of Bosque, New Mexico
• Riley Sloan of Haskell, Texas
• Shae Suttle of Idalou, Texas
• Darbi Williams of Lubbock, Texas
Along with Miller, coaches for this year's team are graduate students Ben Mills from Shallowater, Texas, and Kyle Mahagan from Plainview, Texas.
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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