Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Farm and Ranch

January 12, 2012

Tech livestock judging team crowned national champs

Loni Woolley, a senior from Grandview, was a member of the Texas Tech Univer•sity Livestock Judging Team that was crowned national champions recently at the 2011 North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky. The team won the contest by a 31-point margin, posting a total team score of 4,677 points.

Texas Tech also boasted an unprecedented six of the 10 students who were selected as All-Americans. Woolley was named to this group, as well as Texas Tech’s Clay Burson, Clayton Gardner, Kody Lucherk, Logan Pritchett and Brady Ragland. The award is designed to recognize students who have made a personal commitment to livestock judging and who have also excelled in academics, university and industry activities and community service. Woolley is one of few students who can boast membership on two collegiate All-American teams, as she was also named to the four-person All-American AMSA Meats Judging Team in 2010.

The contest tested the contestants’ knowledge of cattle, sheep and swine as well as their oral reasons. Teams gathered from across the nation to compete for the title. Texas A&M University, Oklahoma State University, Iowa State University and the University of Nebraska rounded out the top five teams.

The Red Raiders won the overall reasons and swine divisions. They were second in the cattle division and third in sheep.

“Today, I’m proud of their achievements, but I’m more excited to see the difference this experience will make in their lives,” said Dr. Ryan Rathmann, assistant professor and coach of the team. “I’ve coached a lot of outstanding individuals over the years, but this is the most impressive group of 15 young men and women I have ever been fortunate enough to mentor and coach.”

Rathmann was also named the Coach of the Year at the banquet.

In addition to Woolley, other team members included:

• Clay Burson, a senior from Abilene

• Brandi Capps, a senior from Dewey, Okla.

• Jordan Clem, a senior from New Home

• Clayton Gardner, a senior from Estancia, N.M.

• Tanner Kieschnick, a senior from Vernon

• Kody Lucherk, a senior from Poth

• Katie Rose McCullough, a senior from Castle Rock, Colo.

• Clay Morrison, a senior from Midland

• Nathan Pond, a senior from Wolfforth

• Logan Pritchett, a senior from Kingfisher, Okla.

• Brady Ragland, a senior from Wolfforth

• Nathan Reeves, a senior from League City

• Joel Riedel, a senior from Arroyo Grande, Calif.

• Markus Miller, a senior from Abernathy

The team had a successful year, winning competitions at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, the National Barrow Show in Austin, Minn., the Oklahoma State Fair at Tulsa, the State Fair of Texas and the American Royal at Kansas City. They are only the 11th team in the history of livestock judging to win both the American Royal and the International.

“The win capped off a tremendously successful year for the team,” said Department of Animal and Food Sciences Associate Chairman Sam Jackson. “They are a tremendous set of kids who are strong academically and have a great record of leadership and extracurricular involvement in the department and university. This win exemplifies the quality and commitment of our students, coaches and the entire Animal and Food Sciences program at Texas Tech University.”

This is the seventh livestock judging team from Texas Tech University to win the national championship. Previously, the competition had been won by teams in 1934, 1953, 1985, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

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