KSU Meat Judging Team National Runner-Up

The Kansas State University meat judging team completed the 2019 season with a runner-up finish at the International Intercollegiate Meat Judging contest in Dakota City, Nebraska recently.

Three team members also earned All American honors based on their individual finishes throughout the year and academic achievements.

“The students on the team this year are a great representation of what this program is about: hard work, teamwork, and success,” said the team’s coach, Travis O’Quinn, an associate professor of animal science. “You could not put together a group of students who better personified all of the values that this program stands for. I am honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to work with them this year, and cannot wait to see all of their future successes in their lives and careers.”

Texas Tech earned the overall team title, while K-State was the reserve national champion, followed by Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Colorado State.

K-State’s All Americans included first-teamers Michaela Musselman of Clay Center, Kansas (fourth overall at the national contest) and Lane Egger of Columbus, Nebraska (fifth overall); and second-teamer Hannah Williams of Kearney, Nebraska.

Meat judging requires students to judge 10 classes of beef, lamb and pork carcasses and cuts and rank them on value. Then, they must defend their rankings to judges with written reasons.

“Additionally, the students have to apply USDA yield and quality grades to 15 beef carcasses and evaluate a set of 10 sub-primal cuts for cutting defects,” O’Quinn said.

“The learning experiences these students receive on these teams is second to none,” he added. “The level of critical thinking, communication, time management and life skills gained as a part of the team goes well beyond what is possible in a traditional classroom. These programs make a monumental difference in these students’ lives and expose them to countless career opportunities that they otherwise would have never been exposed to. There is no doubt that being a part of a judging team positively impacts these students for the rest of their lives.”

Other members of this year’s team include Greyson Collins of St. John, Kansas; Kimmi Doran of Whiteford, Maryland; Katie Lybarger of Garnett, Kansas; Jake McCall of Greenville, Virginia; Luke Prill of Wichita, Kansas; Hannah Seymore of Visalia, California; Adelyn Smith of Corinth, Texas; and Cheyenne Swoope of Kilgore, Texas.

“This finish is a testament to the extreme level of hard work and dedication that this group of students have put in throughout this year,” O’Quinn said. “The team finished in the top two teams overall at 7 out of the 9 contests in which they competed. This makes them one of the most successful teams in the history of K-State. I am extremely proud of this group for their accomplishments and high level of excellence that they embodied.”