By Olivia Norton
The Texas A&M Horse Judging Team returned to Aggieland victorious after putting on a dominating performance at the largest collegiate horse judging contest in the nation, the All American Quarter Horse Congress held in Columbus, Ohio.
On Oct. 16, Texas A&M edged its closest competition, Colorado State University, Cal Poly State University, Oklahoma State University and West Texas A&M University, and secured the overall team championship, due much in part to the first place finishes in all three competitive divisions, halter classes, performance classes and reasons.
While there was much to celebrate in team competition, several Aggies were successful on the individual level. This year’s champion team won multiple high point individual awards and overall champions. Team members and their awards include:
- Paige Marek, agricultural science major from St. Croix Falls, Wis. – high individual overall; high point in performance;
- Derby Jones, accounting major from College Station – 4th high halter individual, 3rd high individual in reasons;
- Kaleigh Potter, animal science major from Klein – 10th high reasons;
- Meghan Wanstrath, animal science major from Batesville, Ind. – reserve high individual overall; high individual reasons; 6th high individual in halter; 5th high individual in performance;
- Erin Worthington, animal science major from Darlington, Md.;
- Jessica Medrano, animal science major from Ft. Worth;
- Bri Carillo, agricultural leadership and development major from Montauk, N.Y.;
- Carrie Estrems, agricultural science major from Kingwood.
“This team has improved dramatically because they became focused and determined. They put judging on top of their priority lists and let other things around them become less of a factor in their lives. I haven’t had a team put each other ahead of themselves like they have in a long time,” said Dr. Clay Cavinder, associate professor and team coach. “I couldn’t be more proud, not because we won, but because of their selflessness, perseverance and dedication to something greater than themselves. These are the things that we as coaches desire for our teams to grasp.”
“Jennifer Zoller, graduate student and co-coach, has done a phenomenal job, and I am extremely glad to have her on board, as well.”
The team takes their recent success in stride and will be focusing on their next goal, the Quarter Horse World Show Contest on Nov. 17-22.
Olivia Norton is a sophomore Animal Science major from Texarkana, Texas.
For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Courtney Coufal at firstname.lastname@example.org or (979) 845-1542.