Officials with Texas Tech University's Department of Plant and Soil Science reported today (Oct. 11) that its Soil Judging Team received second place honors at this year's Region IV Collegiate Soils Judging Contest, hosted by the University of Arkansas. The Texas Tech win allows the team to now advance to national competition next April at The Ohio State University.
Of the 33 individual contestants, Sarah Pennington, a senior, took home a second place individual ranking, said David Weindorf, one of the team's coaches and Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science's BL Allen Endowed Chair of Pedology.
Meanwhile, Payton Brown, a freshman, was eighth individual, Mariah Mesa, a senior, thirteenth individual, Rebekah Ortiz, a senior, fourteenth individual, Hayden Crawford, a sophomore, fifteenth individual, and Cynthia Jordan, a senior, twenty-first individual.
Both Jordan and Brown are first time members of the Texas Tech team, added Weindorf, who also serves as associate vice president within Tech's Office of Research & Innovation. Lindsey Slaughter, a Tech Tech assistant professor of soil microbial ecology/biochemistry, and doctoral candidate Autumn Acree also serve as team coaches.
The final team rankings at the Region IV contest were Oklahoma State University (1st), Texas A&M University (3rd), Tarleton State University (4th), multi-institutional team (5th), Texas A&M-Kingsville (6th).
Prior to the contest, the Texas Tech team practiced for several weeks, evaluating soil texture, structure, color, interpretations, and soil taxonomic classification. During contest week, the team traveled to Arkansas and evaluated several practice soil pits ahead of the contest.
The contest itself consisted of individual competition (each student evaluates soil profiles independently), and team competition (the entire team describes a soil and can openly collaborate to arrive at decisions). Based on overall performance, the top three teams now advance to national competition next spring.
CONTACT: David Weindorf, BL Allen Endowed Chair of Pedology, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-5287 or David.Weindorf@TTU.edu