CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — West Texas A&M University announced that its soil judging Team recently qualified for nationals for the second consecutive year, which are set to take place in April in Ames, Iowa.
The WT team, according to officials, placed second in the Region IV Collegiate Soil Judging Competition on Oct. 16-20 in Lubbock, outranking No. 3 Texas A&M University and just behind the University of Arkansas. The team also placed second in the team pit competition in which the teams work together to “characterize a soil pit,” officials noted.
“Soil judging is a challenging contest. Students are expected to develop soil and landscape characterizations at the level of a well-seasoned professional,” said Lauren Selph, plant, soil and environmental sciences instructor at the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences. “Our team chose to add additional practices to their weekly schedule this semester to further develop their technical skills and their dedication paid off in the contest. I am proud to coach this outstanding group of students.”
The team was established in 2020 and gives students the chance to develop relevant skills for careers in soil conservation, soil science, agronomy, agricultural education and more. At the competitive level, officials added that students describe basic soil morphology, geomorphology, and landscape characteristics. Those characteristics are then scored “relative to those generated by soil science professionals in the contest region,” officials added.
The following students ranked in the top 10 in the competition:
- Paden Markham, a senior plant, soil and environmental sciences major from Wheeler, ranked fourth;
- Tessa Barrett, a senior agriculture education major from Plainview, ranked fifth;
- Dayson Schacher, a junior plant, soil and environmental sciences major from Nazareth, ranked sixth;
- Payton George, a senior agriculture education major from Azle, ranked seventh; and
- Riley Siders, a junior plant, soil and environmental sciences major from Levelland, ranked 10th.
Other team members also include:
- Alex Kuehler, a senior plant, soil and environmental sciences major from Groom;
- Cristian Camacho, a junior plant, soil and environmental sciences major from Booker;
- Kassidy Langley, a junior agriculture education major from Hico;
- Christian Lockhart, a junior plant, soil and environmental sciences major from Memphis;
- Mia Key, a sophomore agriculture education major from Mansfield;
- Sanjuana “Bela” Juarez, a sophomore plant, soil and environmental sciences major from Plainview; and
- Tyler Schneider, a senior plant, soil and environmental sciences major from Cope, Colo.
According to officials, Cade Bednarz, a graduate plant, soil and environmental sciences major student from Lubbock, is also part of the coaching staff.