Texas Tech University

Meat Judging Team Dominates at Southwestern Intercollegiate Contest

George Watson

February 2, 2017


Sophomore Maddy Ainsley leads the way by winning five of the eight categories.

Maddy Ainsley
Maddy Ainsley

If you want to know where the beef is, Maddy Ainsley can likely tell you. Pork and lamb, too.

The sophomore from Hondo dominated the Southwestern Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest last weekend, finishing no lower than third in any individual category and winning five of the eight categories to cruise to the top individual championship.

Her strong showing, and that of the rest of the team, helped the Texas Tech University Meat Judging Team, part of the Department of Animal & Food Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, cruise to the team victory at the competition with 4,159 points.

That was 162 points more than second-place Colorado State University, while Texas A&M University finished third (3,963 points). Oklahoma State University (3,948) and South Dakota State (3,806) rounded out the top five.


Texas Tech finished first in six of the eight categories and second in the other two, led by Ainsley. She finished first overall by taking the top spot in overall beef, beef grading, beef judging, specifications and total placing while finishing second in pork judging and third in reasons.

But she wasn't alone in her domination. Kyle Mahagan, a junior from Plainview, used a first-place finish in lamb judging and second-place finish in total placing to take second overall. He also finished third in pork judging, fourth in specifications, sixth in reasons, seventh in overall beef and ninth in beef grading.

April Molitor, a sophomore from Hondo, finished third overall thanks to her first-place finishes in pork judging and reasons. She also took second in lamb judging and specifications, seventh in beef grading and ninth in placing.


Clay Braden, a sophomore from Wall, finished sixth overall and was fourth in beef judging and placing, fifth in specifications and reasons, seventh in pork judging and eighth in lamb judging.

The alternate team members won seven of the top 10 individual spots, led by Shallowater sophomore Ben Mills in second.

Other members of the Meat Judging Team are:

  • Jordan Bachler, a sophomore from Florence (10th place alternate division)
  • Legrand Bouyi, a junior from Brazzaville, The Republic of Congo
  • Cole Bradford, a sophomore from Shallowater (fifth place alternate division)
  • Grayson Briney, a sophomore from Sanger
  • Dean Chapman, a sophomore from Sweetwater
  • Matthew Cordonier, a sophomore from Edinburg
  • Kenna Faulkenberry, a junior from Stephenville (third place alternate division)
  • DeLaney Hanagan, a sophomore from Artesia, New Mexico
  • Eduardo Hermosilla, a sophomore from El Paso
  • Dustin Jones, a junior from Hondo (sixth place alternate division)
  • Kaylee Martin, a sophomore from Roscoe (eighth place alternate division)
  • Jess Nighswonger, a junior from Keenesburg, Colorado (fourth place alternate division
  • Samuel Spradlin, a sophomore from Granbury
  • Ryan Zaiontz, a junior from Hondo

Mark Miller, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Distinguished Chair in Meat Science, serves as the coach of the team. Also coaching the team are instructor Loni Lucherk, graduate student Nick Hardcastle and undergraduate students Clay Bendele and Erin Beyer.

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