On April 27 and 28, the University of Maryland Terrapins took first place with an impressive showing in the 57th National Soils Competition hosted by the Northern Illinois University and held in the vicinity of Dekalb, Il, where twenty four universities from seven regions around the country were competing for the prize.
The Terps finished 4th in the group portion of the competition on Thursday, and then had a spectacular showing in the individual portion of the contest on Friday, with the four MD contestants finishing in the top 11 (among a field of 93) – Kristi Persing 1st place; Philip Schwartz 5th place; Shelley Porter 9th place; and Daniel Smith 11th place. The combined individual and group scores put Maryland in 1st place overall, ahead of Kansas State (2nd), Univ. of WI Platteville (3rd), Purdue Univ. (4th) and Univ. of WI Stephens Point (5th).
The practice and contest pits included an interesting collection of soils that were mostly Argiudolls, Hapludalfs, Endoaquolls, and Hapuldolls. These were formed in variety parent materials including loess, till, outwash, alluvium, colluvium, residuum, and eolian sands. Other schools representing the NE region at the contest in Illinois included Rhode Island (10th), Bloomsburg University and Delaware Valley College.
This is the 4th time Maryland has won the national title over the 57 year history of the event. The Terps won the 1972 National Championship in Blacksburg, VA (Coach Rabenhorst as a team member) and then in 1984 in San Luis Obispo, CA (Rabenhorst Coach) and most recently in in Platteville, WI in 2013 (Assoc. Professor Brian Needelman Coach). Terp Judger Chenlin Zhu began an MS program in ENST at UMD this semester, and five of the other team members will be graduating this May (Porter, Smith, Persing, Agee, and Kramer.) The rest will hopefully be back on the team this coming Fall when they head to Rhode Island for the NE regional contest. In the meantime, they will be enjoying this victory.