This marks just the second year the team has been active.
The Department of Animal & Food Sciences in the Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources boasts some of the most successful competitive teams in the U.S. Now, the department is trying to add another.
The Academic Quadrathlon (AQ) team got its spring season off to a good start in just its second year of competition, winning the Southern Section AQ competition at the Middle Tennessee Research and Education Center in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The competition, sponsored by the American Society of Animal Science, pits teams from colleges across the country in four categories over a two-day period – lab practicum, written exams, oral presentations and a quiz bowl competition.
"The win by our AQ team is quite exceptional," said Jerrad Legako, an assistant professor in Animal & Food Sciences and coach of the AQ team. "Texas Tech has never won this contest and is a relatively new participant. In spite of our limited experience, the team found a way to rise to the top."
The team from Texas Tech consists of Darby Gonzales, a senior from Hondo; Michaela Pinder, a senior from League City; Blayne Troxell, a junior from Pampa; and Dean Chapman, a sophomore from Sweetwater.
Legako said finishing well in the contest requires students who have a diverse knowledge base and skill set. The lab practicum students were asked to evaluate milk quality, identify poisonous plants, handle livestock and use ultrasound to determine ovarian activity, making it difficult to fully prepare for the contest because it draws upon all aspects of animal science.
The Texas Tech team finished first in the quiz bowl competition and took second place in both lab practicum and the written exam to finish first overall. Auburn University finished second, followed by Texas A&M University in third.
"Placing first is a testament to the high quality of students and faculty we have in the Animal & Food Sciences department," Legako said. "In particular, this team is made up of exceptional individuals who are competitive, selfless and hard-working. Each member had their own particular strengths that ultimately allowed our team to separate from the competition."
Texas Tech previously fielded an AQ team and finished fifth in the nation. This is the first Texas Tech team to win a competition, and they have qualified for the AQ national championships in July in Baltimore, Maryland.