The West Virginia University Soils Team recently traded the Appalachian Mountains for the Cascades as it traveled to Bend, OR, to compete in the National Collegiate Soils Contest.

WVU placed second in the group judging event, the highest it has ever finished in that portion of the competition, and seventh overall.

This marks the fifth top 10 finish for WVU in six years.

Hosted by Oregon State University, the competition featured 21 teams representing colleges and universities from across the country.

“The opportunity to travel to Oregon and observe the soils and landscapes shaped by volcanic activity was one of the motivations for the students,” said Jim Thompson, associate professor of soils and land use in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. “They were also intent on using the trip to build upon the recent success of the WVU Soils Team. As is becoming tradition, the team performed well.”

Josh Hall, a multidisciplinary studies major from Charleston, W.Va., was the top individual finisher for WVU, placing 23rd in the field of 84 competitors.

The eight-member team also includes Sarah Taylor, a 2010 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in agroecology from Petersburg, W.Va.; T.J. Montgomery, an environmental protection major from Salem, W.Va.; Katie Payne, a soil science major from Century, W.Va.; Laura Deehr, an agricultural and extension education major from Berlin Heights, Ohio; Victoria Bishop Jonese, a 2010 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness management and rural development from Moorefield, W.Va.: Emily Ott, an agronomy major from Lakewood, Ohio; and Samantha Spencer, an agroecology major from Sharpsburg, Md.

“Next year will be a special opportunity for the WVU and the Davis College as we will host both the Southeast regional and national contests,” Thompson said. “We’re looking forward to these events and the occasion to showcase the unique soils and landscapes in Morgantown and surrounding region.”

The Southeast Regional Soils Contest is set for October 2011; the National Collegiate Soils Contest will be held in April 2012.



CONTACT: Jim Thompson, associate professor of soils and land use

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