Texas Tech University

Meat Judging Team Picks up Second Victory of Spring Season

George Watson

March 9, 2018

Two teams from Texas Tech earn Top 5 finishes at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Collegiate Meat Judging Contest.

In its third competition of the spring season, the Texas Tech University Meat Judging Team in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences powered to a pair of Top 5 finishes at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Collegiate Meat Judging Contest on Saturday (March 3).


Splitting into two teams, the Texas Tech Red squad took the overall team trophy, finishing first with a total of 4,107 points, while the Texas Tech Black squad finished fifth, less than 30 points back at 4,079 points. Kansas State University finished second with 4,104 points, followed by two teams from Oklahoma State University, its Orange team (4,092 points) and Black team (4,081 points).

Angelo State University, a member of the Texas Tech University System, saw its Blue team finish sixth with 4,066 points, while its Gold team came in 13th with 3,849 points.

“I am thankful for God blessing us with this special group of students who work so hard and are so unselfish in helping to push each other to pursue excellence and represent Texas Tech University with honor and humility,” said Mark Miller, coach of the Meat Judging Team and the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Distinguished Chair in Meat Sciences. “We are blessed to have each one of them here in our meat judging family. 

“I am also very proud of the second-place team, Kansas State, and their Coach Travis O'Quinn, who was a member of our 2006 team and coached our 2009 National Champion team. They are an excellent team and will be fun to compete with all year.  Oklahoma State had the third and fourth place teams coached by Gretchen Mafi, who was a member of our 1992 team and coach of our 2001 Reserve National Champion team.”

The Texas Tech Red team's victory was powered by its first-place finishes in beef grading and overall beef, as well as its third-place finishes in lamb judging and specifications. The Texas Tech Black team took first place in total placing, second place in overall beef and fourth place in beef grading.

Individually, Texas Tech was led by Emma Mortensen, a sophomore from Brush, Colorado. For the second time this semester, Mortensen captured the individual crown, totaling 1,046 points while competing for the Texas Tech Black team. She finished second in total placing and third in overall beef.

Thachary Mayer, a junior from Burlington competing for the Texas Tech Red team, finished seventh overall with 1,038 points, powered by his third-place finish in beef grading and sixth-place finish in overall beef. Colton Smith, a senior from Kingfisher, Oklahoma, rounded out Texas Tech's Top 10 finishers. Competing for the Texas Tech Red team, he finished 10th with 1,036 points thanks to his first-place finish in overall beef and third-place finish in beef judging. He also took fifth in beef grading and seventh in total placing.

Several other Texas Tech competitors had good showings as well. Zach Buckley, a sophomore from Clovis, California, competing as an alternate, finished first in specifications. Taylor Swinson, a junior from Sulphur Springs also competing as an alternate, finished third in lamb judging. Dyllan Galligan, a junior from Brighton, Colorado, competing for the Texas Tech Red team, finished in the top 10 in four categories, highlighted by a sixth-place finish in lamb judging.

Other members of the Meat Judging Team are:

  • Kyle Abernathy, a junior from Satanta, Kansas
  • Cole Bendele, a sophomore from Hondo
  • Kade Clapper, a sophomore from Georgetown
  • Eddie Davilla, a junior from Los Angeles
  • Jesse Featherstone, a sophomore from Atascadero, California
  • Megan Eckhardt, a sophomore from New Braunfels
  • Case Hendrix, a sophomore from Greenville
  • Adrian Longoria, a junior from Satanta, Kansas
  • Rebecca Roe, a junior from Dunnellon, Florida
  • Rafe Royall, a junior from Garden City
  • Chandler Sarchet, a sophomore from Anton
  • Danielle Schainost, a senior from Yoder, Wyoming
  • Sarah Spradlin, a sophomore from Granbury
  • Taylor  Stubenbordt, a junior from Graham
  • Travis Tilton, a sophomore from Cleburne
  • Koby Valentine, a sophomore from Melrose, New Mexico
  • Courteney Walker, a junior from Roswell, New Mexico

The Meat Judging Team opened its spring season with a fourth-place finish at the American Meat Science Association (AMSA) National Western Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest in Greeley, Colorado and followed that by winning the Southwestern Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest in February.

Coaches for the team with Miller are graduate students Clay Bendele and Erin Beyer.


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