WT Soil Judging Team Qualifies for Nationals for First Time

WT+Soil+Judging+Team+Qualifies+for+Nationals+for+First+Time

CANYON, Texas — West Texas A&M University’s soil judging team placed second and qualified for nationals for the first time at a recent competition.

Alex Kuehler, a senior plant, soil and environmental science major from Groom, and Cade Bednarz, a senior plant, soil and environmental science major from Lubbock, placed sixth and seventh, respectively. The full squad also placed fourth in the team competition.

The team next will compete at the national soil judging competition in April in Woodward, Oklahoma.

WT was the only Division 2 school represented at the regional competition, hosted by Oklahoma State University from Oct. 16 to 21 in Woodward, Oklahoma. WT competed against the likes of Texas A&M University, the University of Arkansas, Texas Tech University and more.

“I am so proud of how hard these students have worked this year,” said Lauren Selph, team coach and plant, soil and environmental sciences instructor in the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences. “WT’s soil judging team was established in 2020, and it’s a testament to the students’ intelligence and determination that they have qualified for nationals so quickly. I am excited for the future of WT soil judging.”

Soil judging is a competitive activity through which students develop skills relevant to careers in soil conservation, soil science, agronomy, agricultural education and more. During a contest, students describe basic soil morphology, geomorphology and landscape characteristics. Their characterizations are then scored relative to those generated by soil science professionals in the contest region.

Other team members include Cristian Camacho, a freshman plant, soil and environmental science major from Booker; Kylie Deaton, a freshman agricultural communications major from Loveland, Colorado; Payton George, a junior plant, soil and environmental science major from Azle; Jacie Guerrero, a freshman plant, soil and environmental science major from Umbarger; Bela Juarez, a freshman plant, soil and environmental science major from Plainview; Shelby Lain, a senior plant, soil and environmental science major from Canyon; Kassidy Langley, a sophomore agricultural education major from Hico; Paden Markham, a junior plant, soil and environmental science major from Wheeler; Caden Morrison, a senior plant, soil and environmental science major from Mansfield; Andy Rivas, a senior plant, soil and environmental science major from Perryton; Dayson Schacher, a freshman plant, soil and environmental science major from Nazareth; and Erika Van Houten, a senior plant, soil and environmental science major from Weimar.

Developing excellent educational opportunities, both inside and outside the classroom, is a key mission of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021 — has raised more than $110 million.

 

Photo: The West Texas A&M University soil judging team recently qualified for national competition for the first time. Team members are, front from left, Erika Van Houten, Kassidy Langley, Kylie Deaton, Bela Juarez, Shelby Lain and Jacie Guerrero and, back from left, Coach Lauren Selph, Andres Rivas, Cristian Camacho, Dayson Schacher, Caden Morrison, Cade Bednarz, Alex Kuehler, Paden Markham and Payton George.

 

 

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