Texas Tech University

Meat Judging Team Picks Up First Win of Fall Season at Eastern National

George Watson

October 3, 2018

The team also finished with a competition-best four individuals in the top 10.

Meat Judging Team
Photo Courtesy: College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

The Texas Tech University Meat Judging Team in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences earned its first victory of the fall season on Saturday (Sept. 29) by outdistancing Colorado State University at the American Meat Science Association Eastern National Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest in Wyalusing, Pennsylvania.

Texas Tech, the defending national champion, finished with 4,163 points, well ahead of CSU's 4,111 points. Big 12 opponents Kansas State University (4,060) and Oklahoma State University (4,035) finished third and fourth, respectively, while Texas A&M University was fifth with 4,009 points.

It is the fourth straight year a Texas Tech team has won the Eastern National, which is sponsored by Cargill Regional Beef. Angelo State University, part of the Texas Tech University System, finished sixth with 3,961 points.

“I am extremely proud of the unselfishness, hard work and pursuit of excellence shown by these students,” said Mark Miller, coach of the Meat Judging Team and the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Distinguished Chair in Meat Sciences. “Their dedication and work ethic paid off in a great performance on Saturday.”

Texas Tech dominated across the board, taking first place in five of eight categories, including overall beef, beef grading, beef judging, lamb judging and reasons/questions. Texas Tech took second place in specifications and total placing and third in pork judging.

Texas Tech also led the way in the individual standings, with four students finishing in the top 10 overall.

Thachary Mayer, a senior from Cameron, put forth an outstanding individual performance, finishing first in five of eight categories and second in two others on his way to taking the top individual honors. He took first place in overall beef, beef grading, beef judging, lamb judging and total placing while finishing second on pork judging and reasons/questions.

Emma Mortensen, a junior from Brush, Colorado, finished fourth overall on the strength of a first-place finish in specifications while taking second in overall beef. She also finished fourth in beef grading and lamb judging.

Colton Smith, a senior from Kingfisher, Oklahoma, finished sixth overall after finishing first in reasons/questions, third in overall beef and fifth in both beef grading and beef judging.

Dyllan Galligan, a senior from Brighton, Colorado, rounded out Texas Tech's top-10 finishers, taking seventh place after finishing second in placing and fourth in beef judging.

Other members of the meat judging team are:

  • Cole Bendele, a junior from Hondo
  • Zach Buckley, a junior from Clovis, California
  • Kade Clapper, a junior from Georgetown
  • Eddie Davilla, a senior from Los Angeles
  • Megan Eckhardt, a junior from New Braunfels
  • Jessie Featherstone, a junior from Atascadero, California
  • Case Hendrix, a junior from Princeton
  • Rafe Royall, a senior from Garden City
  • Chandler Sarchet, a junior from Anton
  • Sarah Spradlin, a junior from Granbury
  • Taylor Stubenbordt, a senior from Graham
  • Taylor Swinson, a senior from Sulfur Springs
  • Travis Tilton, a junior from Cleburne
  • Koby Valentine, a junior from Clovis, New Mexico
  • Courteney Walker, a senior from Roswell, New Mexico

Texas Tech also took the top three and four of the top 10 team spots in the alternate division, led by eight individuals finishing in the top 10. Miller said this shows the tremendous depth and work ethic on this year's team.

Also helping coach the team are graduate students Erin Beyer and Clay Bendele.