On October 7, the University of Maryland's Soil Judging team finished 2nd at the Northeast Regional Soil Competition that was hosted by Penn State University and held in the vicinity of State College, PA, as the Maryland B team was narrowly edged out of 1stplace (11 points out of 3271) by the relative newcomer, Bloomsburg University, at what was likely the largest Soil Judging competition ever held in the NE Region.
The University of Maryland fielded three teams among a group of 21 teams, from nine universities including Delaware Valley University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Rhode Island, Ohio State University, Wilmington College of Ohio, Bloomsburg University, West Chester University and Richard Stockton College.
The “depth of the Terps bench” was demonstrated with the Maryland A team finishing right behind the Maryland B team in 3rdplace and with 7 of the Terp Judgers finding a place among the top 15 individuals: Kristi Persing – 3rd, Daniel Smith – 6th, Tori Monsaint-Queeney – 11th, Natalie Agee – 12th, Philip Schwartz – 13th, Moises Umanzor – 14th, and Chenglin Zhu – 15th).
Practice and contest sites were located in the Ridge and Valley physiographic province where the underlying geology was mostly Paleozoic sedimentary rocks including shales, sandstone and limestone. The soils themselves included Alfisols, Ultisols and Inceptisols derived from residual, colluvial and alluvial parent materials, with such interesting and challenging features as fragipans and paralithic contacts.
The unusually large number of contestants at this year’s event made it especially competitive, and bodes well for the future of Soil Judging in the NE region. Behind Boomsburg in 1st place and the Maryland B and A teams in 2nd and 3rd place, the University of Rhode Island came in 4th and Delaware Valley University finished 5th. These four schools will represent the NE region at the National Collegiate Soil Judging contest next April that will be hosted by Northern Illinois Univ. in Dekalb, IL.