West Virginia University’s Poultry Judging Team matched a personal best at the recent U.S. Poultry and Egg Association National Poultry Judging Contest in Baton Rouge, La.
The squad of WVU students scrambled and fried enough of the competition to place third overall in team competition, matching a third-place award at the 45th Annual National Collegiate Poultry Judging Contest hosted by the University of Arkansas in November 2010.
--Joe Moritz Poultry Judging Team Coach
Third place is the highest any WVU poultry judging team has ever placed. In addition, the team won 4th place in both Production and Market Products categories and 5th place in Breed Selection.
In early April, teams from colleges and universities across the nation competed with one another in three categories: production judging, breed selection, and market products judging.
“The competition allows students the opportunity to demonstrate how well they have mastered the U.S. Department of Agriculture rules and regulations governing the grading of eggs and poultry carcasses as well as live bird evaluation,” said Joe Moritz, the team’s coach and an associate professor of poultry science in WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design.
The team comprised Chris Brooks, Angela Lamp, Hannah Heavner and Matt McCombs. Along with Moritz, the team was coached by graduate students Kelley Lilly, Brittany Swiger and Laurel Shires.
Brooks, the only returning judger from the November 2010 competition, achieved the 10th highest individual score and 6th overall in the Production category. Lamp and Heavner earned the 11th and 13th highest individual scores, respectively.
Prior to attending WVU, Brooks served in the U.S. Army as a lieutenant in the military police and served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea. He is from Mineral County, W.Va., and will graduate with a B.S. in animal and nutritional sciences in May.
Lamp, a junior from Weirton, W.Va., also majoring in animal and nutritional sciences, had no prior poultry judging competition experience but hopes to continue and compete in the Arkansas contest this November.
Heavner, a senior majoring in agribusiness management and rural development from Pendleton County, W.Va., has been involved with poultry judging since she was 9 years old. She plans to graduate in December 2011 after competing in Arkansas this November.
McCombs, a senior majoring in animal and nutritional sciences from Marshall County, W.Va. was new to poultry judging, but had participated on dairy judging teams for WVU. He will graduate this semester and become a herd manager at a dairy farm in Point Pleasant, W.Va.
Moritz views the contest performance as part of WVU’s burgeoning reputation as a provider of education and conductor of research in poultry science.
“Our graduate students have been winning national awards for their research, and more and more students from other universities have been inquiring about graduate education at WVU,” he said. “The outstanding judging performance is icing on the cake.”
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