Texas Tech University students earned the school’s 11th national championship in meat judging Sunday (Nov. 17) at the American Meat Science Association’s International Meat Judging Contest held in Dakota City, Neb.
This is the third consecutive year that Texas Tech has won the title, making it only the second university in the history of intercollegiate meat judging to accomplish the feat.
The team won the lamb judging, pork judging, specifications and reasons divisions. The students finished second in placings and beef grading.
“We are very proud of the efforts of these young men and women and their representation of our university on a national stage,” said M. Duane Nellis, president of Texas Tech. “The meat judging program has a successful and storied history and continues to be the benchmark nationally for other programs. A tremendous amount of praise and gratitude goes to Coaches Mark Miller and Loni Woolley and to the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources for its dedication and commitment to our students.”
The team won the contest by a 51-point margin. The remaining top five teams in the contest included Angelo State University, Kansas State University, Texas A&M University and Oklahoma State University.
Individual placements were as follows:
• Christy Woerner, a junior from Fredericksburg, was high individual
• Austin Langemeier, a junior from Marion, was fourth
• Nick Hardcastle, a junior from Wheeler, was fifth
• Kassandra Ognoskie, a junior from Orting, Wash., was eleventh
In the alternate division, Texas Tech boasted nine of the top-ten individuals overall including high individual Mallory Jones, a junior from Anson.
Other team members included:
• Brittany Blum, a junior from Howe
• Colton Campbell, a junior from Artesia, N.M.
• Kylan Carson, a junior from Olton
• Taelar Childers, a junior from Crandall
• Colton Coker, a junior from Roby
• Aaron Faulkner, a senior from Lenapah, Okla.
• Trey Garza, a junior from Edinburg
• Greg Howard, a senior from Bremen, Kansas
• Kirby Kennedy, a junior from Lampasas
• Kristen Knight, a junior from Shallowater
• Clayton Krause, a senior from New Braunfels
• Jacob Mikel, a senior from Vichy, Mo.
• Tyler Neuman, a junior from Hondo
• Bailey Joe Pennington, a junior from Sonora
• Luke Sellers, a senior from Denver City
• William Wunderlich, a junior from Fredericksburg
Woerner and Langemeier were both named First Team All-American Team members. The members of the All-American Teams are selected based upon scholastic achievement and competition performance. Ognoskie was named Second Team All-American.
The prestigious Rachel Hamilton Spirit Award, an award given in recognition of the commitment, dedication and teamwork displayed during a team member’s meat judging career was given to Childers.
“This is a very special group of students who have worked hard this year,” said Mark Miller, professor and San Antonio Livestock Show & Rodeo Distinguished Chair in Meat Science. “They courageously came back from a loss at the Eastern National and the American Royal contests and committed themselves to working hard as a team to win decisively at the International.”
The team was coached by Woolley, who is a graduate student, along with Miller.
Texas Tech now boasts a total of 11 national championships in intercollegiate meat judging (1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013). Because the university has won it three times again, the trophy will be retired at Texas Tech. This is the third cup to be retired on the campus.
According to program officials, the meat judging program strives to teach students communication skills, rational decision making skills and give students the ability to excel in a competitive environment under pressure. These skills are developed to help students excel both professionally and personally.