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LAS CRUCES-New Mexico State University's livestock judging team finished fourth at a national show in Fort Worth, continuing a string of top-five finishes.
"The team has come a long way," said coach John Nelson, an NMSU graduate student. "They still have a long way to go as far as reasons, but they are a good placing team."
NMSU showed consistency, placing second in cattle, swine and horse categories in Fort Worth. The team was third in reasons and eighth in sheep at the Southwestern Livestock Show and Exposition.
NMSU's team score of 4,584 was 43 points behind first-place Texas A&M University. Individually, NMSU's Joni Martin, a junior from Upland, Ind., finished third in horses and sixth in cattle. Junior Marco Hamilton from Silver City was ninth in sheep.
The team started 2004 on a strong note with a third-place at the Arizona National Livestock Show on New Year's Eve. Martin was second overall in Phoenix with a first in beef, second in reasons and fourth in swine. Senior Briley Elliott of Newcastle, Wyo., finished second in beef, one point behind Martin. Cody Chabot, a junior from Riverton, Wyo., won the sheep category and finished fourth overall individually.
At the National Western Stock Show in Denver, NMSU placed fifth among 32 teams competing Jan. 16, one point behind fourth-place Illinois. Senior Collin Howard of Smyer, Texas, was sixth in sheep and seventh in individual standings. Martin was third in sheep and seventh in reasons.
Other team members are junior Jenna Hardin of Lovington and junior Geoff Hathorn of Lubbock, Texas. All are animal science majors except Elliott, who is studying agricultural and extension education.
Nelson said the team's success is attracting interest from junior college students on judging teams who are interested in transferring to NMSU.
The team will travel to Houston, Texas, on March 17 for the last contest of the season. Nelson said team members have taken turns placing. "I hope at the next contest, they all have a good day at the same time."
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