The Virginia Tech Soil Judging Team in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences won first place at the North American College Teachers of Agriculture National Contest in Wooster, Ohio, on April 18.
Virginia Tech finished first out of 15 universities competing and was followed by Purdue University, Northwest Missouri State University, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and University of Wisconsin-River Falls, respectively.
Virginia Tech’s team members were:
- Derik Cataldi of Gordonsville, Va., a senior majoring in crop and soil environmental sciences;
- Dan Johnson of Castlewood, Va., a junior majoring crop and soil environmental sciences;
- Hannah Claytonof Virginia Beach, Va., a senior majoring in environmental science;
- Heather Taylor of Blacksburg, a junior majoring in crop and soil environmental sciences;
- Randy Cosby of Glen Allen, Va., a sophomore majoring in crop and soil environmental sciences;
- Nina O’Malley of Arlington, Va., a sophomore majoring in crop and soil environmental sciences;
- Keith Trent of Keysville, Va., a senior majoring in crop and soil environmental sciences; and
- Meagan Ormand of Chester, Va., a junior majroing in environmental science, also a member of the team, was unable to attend the contest.
The Virginia Tech team placed high in the individual event as well: Cataldi placed third, Johnson placed fourth, Clayton placed seventh, and Taylor placed 11th.
The team – coached by John Galbraith, associate professor of crop and soil environmental sciences and crop and soil environmental sciences graduate student Nick Haus – was unfazed by having to judge an unfamiliar soil type. “The majority of teams we competed against were experienced in describing glaciated areas, yet our team of new judges excelled and surpassed the ‘home-court’ favorites. This win is a testament to the quality of our soils program and the students in our department at Virginia Tech, including Coach Nick Haus, who took the team to the contest,” said Galbraith.