Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Meat Judging Team Captures Title at Cargill High Plains Contest

George Watson

November 1, 2019

Meat Judging Team

The win for the perennial national title contender comes with the national championships right around the corner.

The Texas Tech University Meat Judging Team, housed within the Department of Animal & Food Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, defended the "home" turf this weekend.

With just over a week until the national championship in November in Nebraska, Texas Tech surged to victory at the American Meat Science Association (AMSA) Cargill High Plains Collegiate Meat Judging Contest in Friona. Led by three of the top four individual finishes, Texas Tech outlasted Texas A&M University for the win.

"I am proud of the team for never giving up and staying positive," said Mark Miller, coach of the Meat Judging Team and the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Distinguished Chair in Meat Science.

"Their positive attitudes, tremendous work ethic, faith and trust resulted in this successful performance. They have developed into a unified, strong and close family in their hearts and have a great love for each other. Their striving for honor in the pursuit of excellence and unselfishness for each other made the difference."

As a team, Texas Tech took first place in six of the eight judging categories to finish with 4,096 points, 89 points ahead of Texas A&M and more than 100 points ahead of Big 12 Conference rival Oklahoma State University (3,978). Angelo State University, a part of the Texas Tech University System, finished fourth with 3,969 points, ahead of fifth-place Kansas State University (3,923).

Texas Tech took first place in overall beef, beef judging, lamb judging, pork judging, total placing and reasons/questions. Angelo State captured first place in beef grading, with Texas Tech finishing second, while Oklahoma State won specifications.

Sherri Halstead, a native of Aztec, New Mexico, led Texas Tech's efforts with a tremendous performance. She finished first overall with 1,053 points by taking first place in beef judging (280 points), lamb judging (144), overall beef (531), specifications (100), total placing (493) and reasons/questions (209), while finishing second in beef grading and seventh in pork judging.

Taylor Schertz from Krum finished third overall with 1,029 points. She finished first in pork judging (283 points), third in lamb judging (143) fourth in total placing (491) and fifth in overall beef (506) while also finishing in the top 10 in beef judging, specifications and reasons/questions.

Grant Kitten rounded out Texas Tech's top-10 individual competitors. The Slaton native took fourth overall with 1,029 points, placing third in beef judging (274 points) and overall beef (523) and fourth in beef grading (249). He added top-10 finishes in lamb judging and total placing.

Jacie Henefey of D'Hanis finished second in beef judging (275 points) and fifth in reasons/questions (203), while finishing in the top 10 in pork judging and total placing.

Britt Dixon from Roswell, New Mexico, led the Texas Tech alternate individuals by finishing first overall with 1,034 points.

Other members of the Meat Judging Team are:

  • Conner McKinzie from Stephenville

  • Abram Chaparro from Clayton, New Mexico

  • Anna Carlock from Joshua

  • Anna Scott from Hazlehurst, Georgia

  • Denise Guevara from Garden City, Kansas

  • Greg Matocha from La Grange

  • Keith Shoemake from Spring Branch

  • Maleea Harper from Amherst

  • Newt Koemel from Albany

  • Nicole Cox from Hutto

  • Paige Williams from Austin

  • Tanner Thompson from Florence

  • Ty Largent from Redding, California

  • Wilse Corliss from Estancia, New Mexico

  • Zain Wade from Heber City, Utah

Coaches for this year's team are graduate students Tommy Fletcher and Cole Perkins along with Miller.

In their previous contests this fall, the Meat Judging Team finished second at the AMSA Eastern National in September and third place at the AMSA American Royal earlier in October.

The International Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest is set for Nov. 10 in Dakota City, Nebraska.