Meat Judging Team Wraps Up Spring Season with Dominant Showing in Houston

The Texas Tech teams took first and third place at the Houston Stock Show competition.

Meat Judging Team

2017 Meat Judging Team

The Texas Tech University Meat Judging Team wrapped up a perfect spring competition season on Saturday by dominating the field at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest.

The Red and Black teams from Texas Tech, part of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, took first and third place, respectively, with 4,194 points and 4,131 points. They were sandwiched around second-place Colorado State University-Green (4,133 points) and ahead of two teams from Texas A&M University.

The meat judging team finished the spring competition season undefeated, adding to its wins in Denver and Fort Worth.

“I am so proud of this team and all our coaches,” said Mark Miller, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Distinguished Chair in Meat Science who serves as the coach of the team. “They each have the heart of a champion. All of them work extremely hard to reach excellence in meat judging and they represent Texas Tech extremely well on a national level.”

Both the Red and Black teams finished in the top 10 in each category. The Red team won the beef grading, lamb judging, overall beef and reasons categories and was second in beef judging, pork judging and specifications. The black team took second in overall beef and reasons and was third in beef grading and lamb judging.

Individually, Texas Tech cleaned up in the competition, claiming the top four spots, five of the top six and six of the top nine. Maddy Ainsley, a sophomore from Hondo, led the way by finishing first with 1,069 points for the Red team, just ahead of Red teammate April Molitor, also a sophomore from Hondo, who was second with 1,066 points.

Ainsley finished first in beef judging, overall beef and pork judging and took second in beef grading and reasons. She was also sixth in total placing. Molitor finished first in lamb judging, specifications and reasons while finishing second in beef grading, beef judging and overall beef.

Ben Mills, a sophomore from Shallowater competing for the Black team, finished third overall with 1,055 points on the strength of a second-place finish in specifications and fourth-place finish in overall beef. He also took fifth in beef grading, eighth in beef judging and 10th in pork judging.

Sam Spradlin, a sophomore from Granbury, finished fourth competing as an alternate by finishing in the top 10 in five of the eight categories. Rounding out the individuals in the top 10 were Dustin Jones, a junior from Hondo (sixth), and Grayson Briney, a sophomore from Sanger (ninth), both competing as alternates.

Other individual finishers of note include Jess Nighswonger, a junior from Keenesburg, Colorado, who finished first in beef judging and third in overall beef; DeLaney Hanagan, a sophomore from Artesia, New Mexico, who finished third in beef judging and lamb judging and fifth in reasons; Clay Braden, a sophomore from Wall, who finished fourth in lamb judging and reasons; Kyle Mahagan, a junior from Plainview, who was fifth in lamb judging; Jordan Bachler, a sophomore from Florence, who was fourth in placing; and Kaylee Martin, a sophomore from Roscoe who was third in specifications.

Other members of the Meat Judging Team are:

  • Legrand Bouyi, a junior from Brazzaville, The Republic of Congo
  • Cole Bradford, a sophomore from Shallowater
  • Dean Chapman, a sophomore from Sweetwater
  • Matthew Cordonier, a sophomore from Edinburg
  • Kenna Faulkenberry, a junior from Stephenville
  • Eduardo Hermosilla, a sophomore from El Paso
  • Ryan Zaiontz, a junior from Hondo

Also coaching the team are instructor Loni Lucherk, graduate student Nick Hardcastle and undergraduate students Clay Bendele and Erin Beyer.

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The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources is made up of six departments:

  • Agriculture and Applied Economics
  • Agricultural Education and Communications
  • Animal and Food Science
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Plant and Soil Science
  • Natural Resources Management

The college also consists of eleven research centers and institutes, including the Cotton Economics Research Institute, the International Cotton Research Center and the Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute.


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