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NMSU Wool Team Finishes Second

LAS CRUCES -- New Mexico State University's Wool Judging Team recently placed second at the National Western Collegiate Wool Judging Contest in Denver. Emerging as reserve champions, NMSU's team finished just six points behind the first-place team, Angelo State University (Texas).

"This is the highest finish at this contest by an NMSU team since the 1970s," said Beth McFadin, team coach.

Fifteen collegiate teams competed in the contest, held in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show. NMSU's team included Kelly Creighton, Brett Valentine, Calli Gnatkowski, Caleb Kerr, Leah Laggeneger and Justin Lamb. McFadin and Rori Renner, graduate assistants in the animal and range sciences department at NMSU's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences , served as team coaches.

The competition included grading, placings and reasons. In the grading section, the students judged 15 shorn fleeces on the basis of grade, yield, uniformity, staple length, character and purity. The NMSU team placed second in grading, with five team members scoring in the top 20.

In placings, team members judged six classes of four fleeces each, placing the fleeces in order from best to worst. For two of these classes, members gave oral arguments explaining the reasons for the placings. NMSU placed fourth in placings and sixth in reasons.

In individual overall standings, Creighton, Valentine, Laggeneger and Gnatkowski were fifth, eighth, 10th and 12th, respectively.

"The Denver competition is one of only two collegiate wool judging contests in the nation," McFadin said. "The second competition is held at the Houston Livestock Show and Exposition. The combination of scores from these two events determines the national winner."

The NMSU team will be competing at the Houston competition at the end of February.