College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Environmental Science & Technology

Soil Judgers Head to the 2014 National Contest

Front row: John Desmond. Middle row: Keegan Rankin, Chris Seitz, Tyler Witkowski, Sara Mack, Jessica Rupprecht, Jaclyn Fiola. Back Row: Chris Palardy (Asst. Coach), Martin Rabenhorst (Coach).

On October 25, the University of Maryland Soil Judging Team placed second in the Northeast Regional Soil Competition that was held near Frederick, MD. The University of Maryland entered two teams among a field of twelve, from six universities including Delaware Valley College, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Rhode Island, Richard Stockton College of NJ, and Wilmington College of Ohio.

In addition to Maryland’s A Team finishing in 2nd place, the Maryland B Team was close behind in 4th place. Maryland had three students among the top ten individuals (John Desmond – 2nd, Tyler Witkowski – 3rd, and Jessica Rupprecht – 9th), where contestants examined soils at three sites that included an Alfisol formed in alluvial terrace deposits, an Inceptisol in younger flood plain deposits and an Alfisol formed in colluvium over old alluvium. The group portion of the contest utilized two sites that featured a very challenging Fragiudult topped with a mantle of human transported materials (HTM) and a Hapuldalf formed in colluvium/old alluvium. This (group) part of the competition was won by Maryland’s B team (with Maryland’s A team placing 3rd).

During the week of practice and competition, students examined, described and interpreted the soil profiles and landscapes at nearly twenty sites, which proved to be a wonderful educational experience. The overall (combined) team rankings put the Penn State University B Team in 1st place followed by the University of Maryland A Team in 2nd, the University of Rhode Island A Team in 3rd, the University of Maryland B Team in 4th, and Delaware Valley College in 5th.

Maryland, Penn State and URI will represent the NE region in the National Collegiate Soils competition contest next Spring, that will be hosted by Delaware Valley College in Doylestown Pennsylvania, where it is anticipated that over twenty teams representing seven regions from across the country will participate.

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