Texas Tech University

Meat, Livestock Judging Teams Fare Well in Final Fall Tuneups

George Watson

November 4, 2016


Both teams will compete in the national championships Nov. 13-14.

Cargill High Plains Team

In the final competitions before the national championships later in November, the Texas Tech University Meat Judging Team and Livestock Judging Team had strong showings in competitions held this past weekend.

The Meat Judging Team continued its roll through the fall season, claiming its third straight team championship at the Cargill High Plains Meat Judging Contest in Friona on Sunday (Oct. 30). The Livestock Judging Team, meanwhile, finished second the day before at the American Royal Livestock Judging Contest in Kansas City.

“The students have a great desire to pursue excellence and to represent Texas Tech with honor,” said Mark Miller, the San Antonio Stock Show Distinguished Chair in Meat Sciences and coach of the meat judging team.

The Meat Judging Team won with a total of 4,137 points, outdistancing Oklahoma State University by 33 points and Colorado State University by 36 points. The team's victory came on the strength of first-place finishes in overall beef (2,087 points) and beef grading (1,017) and second-place finishes in pork judging (1,104), specifications (388) and reasons/questions (839).

Individually, Texas Tech was led by Kye Schwartz, a junior from Wall, who finished first with 1,053 points. Schwartz finished first in overall beef and beef grading and was third in beef judging while finishing in the top 10 in specifications and total placing.

Cole Perkins, a junior from Llano, finished fifth with 1,037 points and took third in reasons/questions, fourth in pork judging and made the top 10 in beef grading and lamb judging. Tommy Fletcher, a junior from LaVernia, gave Texas Tech its third top-10 finish with 1,027 points.

Other members of the Meat Judging Team are:

  • Jessica Humphrey, a senior from Okeechobee, Florida
  • Kyle Caldwell, a junior from Midlothian
  • Katlynn Freeman, a junior from Panhandle
  • Lane Harrington, a senior from Frost
  • Boyd Henry, a junior from Wall
  • Courtney Jasik, a junior from Mertzon
  • Shannon O'Quinn, a junior from League City
  • Kiersten Scott, a senior from Scott City, Kansas
  • Keeley Sears, a junior from Peaster
  • Blayne Troxell, a junior from Pampa
  • Chelsi Vineyard, a junior from Stephenville
  • Megan Writt, a junior from Houston

Graduate students Loni Lucherk, Nick Hardcastle and Mallorie Phelps serve as assistant coaches for the team.

The Livestock Judging Team, meanwhile, missed the overall title in Kansas City by just eight points to Texas A&M University. Oklahoma State finished third and South Dakota State University finished fourth.

Chama Martin, a senior from Mason, led the way for Texas Tech by finishing second overall. Brody Halfmann, a senior from Garden City, finished 10th overall.

Texas Tech also placed first, second and third in the sheep/goats division, led by Gabe Jennings, a senior from Fredonia.

Other members of the livestock judging team are:

  • Austin Adams, a senior from Hedley
  • Zane Webster, a senior from San Simon, Arizona
  • Jonathan Neiman, a senior from New Home
  • LJ Young, a senior from Pendleton, Indiana
  • Dakota Crissman, a senior from Bells
  • Maclaine Shultz, a senior from Meeker, Colorado

Ryan Rathmann, an associate professor and the John W. and Doris Jones Professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, coaches the team. Graduate student Jon DeClerck is the assistant coach.

Both teams now will prepare for the national championships. The Meat Judging Team will be looking to defend its 2015 national title when it competes at the national championships Nov. 13 in Dakota City, Nebraska. The Livestock Judging Team will compete at the national championships Nov. 14 in Louisville, Kentucky, seeking to also repeat as champions.

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