Texas Tech University

Livestock Judging Team Claims Eighth National Championship

George Watson

November 18, 2015

Texas Tech becomes the first school to claim the meat and livestock judging national championship in the same year four times.

Texas Tech Livestock Judging Team
Livestock Judging Team

For the fourth time in school history, Texas Tech University has swept two national championship judging competitions.

Two days after the Texas Tech meat judging team claimed the crown, the livestock judging team from the Department of Animal and Food Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources followed suit, outlasting Oklahoma State by 15 points to earn the program's eighth national title and first since 2011 at the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) in Louisville, Kentucky.

“What a week it has been for our judging teams in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources,” Texas Tech President M. Duane Nellis said. “The Texas Tech livestock judging team showed true determination and dedication in claiming its eighth national title. Congratulations to coaches Ryan Rathmann and Kylan Carson for their outstanding work with this year's team and to the Department of Animal and Food Sciences for its commitment to our students.”

The livestock team's victory marks the fourth time Texas Tech has won the national championships in meat and livestock judging in the same year (2008-09, 2011, 2015), making Texas Tech the only school to achieve that feat. Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, have done it three times.

“This was an absolutely unbelievable day,” Rathmann said. “We are so blessed to have so many exceptional students in our judging program. This group is really special. They had their ups and downs but even in the face of setbacks they were always determined and kept believing in themselves.”

Three individuals finished in the top six, allowing Texas Tech to outlast Oklahoma State 4,677-4,662. Western Illinois (4,613 points) finished third followed by Kansas State (4,584) and Iowa State (4,550).

In team standings, Texas Tech won the sheep (1,155 points) and reasons (1,850) categories while finishing second in cattle (1,888)

Laramie Priest, a senior from Lorena, led the Texas Tech contingent, finishing third with 943 points. Luke Ziegler, a senior from New Windsor, Maryland, was fifth with 941 points and Colby Redifer, a senior from Blacksburg, Virginia, finished sixth with 939 points.

Rathmann also was named Coach of the Year. This year's national title marks the fifth for Texas Tech since he took over as coach in 2007 and the eighth of his career, adding to the three titles he won at Texas A&M from 2002 to 2004.

“I had the privilege of being able to attend the contest this year in Louisville,” said Michael Orth, chairman of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. “The coaches and students did a tremendous job. Many family members of the students were there as well to enjoy the moment. Winning the national championship is an accomplishment they can cherish for the rest of their lives.”

Other members of the livestock judging team are:

  • SyAnn Foster, a senior from Lockney
  • Colton Fritz, a senior from Fredericksburg
  • Lane Hale, a senior from Ozona
  • DeShae Hanagan, a senior from Artesia, New Mexico
  • Linay Runnels, a senior from Hondo
  • Taylor Shackelford, a senior from Prosper
  • Tylee Williams, a senior from Rio Vista
  • Bryson Williams, a junior from Earth

“We had a huge crowd of parents and supporters at the banquet and it is amazing how many people have been praying and thinking of us over the last few days,” Rathmann said.