Senior Stephanie Gonzales, freshman Maria Johnston, and eighth-grader Kylie Garner placed fourth in area, first in district, and 41st out of 50 teams at state for wool judging.
Juniors Jordan Hines and Keller Hughes, and eighth-grader Kooper Hughes placed fourth at the combined district and area competition for meat judging in College Station. They went on to place 36th out of 50 teams at the state competition. All three boys improved their scores by about 300 points each.
Kooper’s score went up from 183 to 571, Keller’s from 390 to 655, and Hines’ from 230 to 575.
It was a rough start for the meat judging team at a practice competition in San Antonio earlier this year where they placed 53rd out of 58 teams.
“We bombed out there,” Keller said. “But it was a good learning experience for us as a team.”
The wool team’s scores also increased substantially. Garner went from a 291 to a 432, Johnston went from a 363 to a 450, and Gonzales went from a 376 to a 429.
“We had finally got the jitters out after area,” Gonzales said.
Both teams practiced with TRHS teacher Jackie Greenwood, but practicing in South Texas proved difficult for the wool team since sheep are uncommon in this area. Greenwood said the students from areas with a lot of sheep had an advantage in the competition in addition to having more experience.
“This part of Texas isn’t known for having a lot of sheep,” Greenwood said. “The girls did really well considering they had one practice contest.”
The meats team relied on video for practice and Hines said there was a difference between judging what’s seen on screen and what’s seen in person.
Kooper said the meat judging team is hoping to place at state next year. Keller is also considering competing after high school on the Texas Tech meat judging team.
“We wouldn’t be able to do it without our teacher,” Hines said. “She is understanding most of all, and puts up with us.”
As for the wool team, Greenwood said it’s mostly freshmen who compete; so Garner might compete again next year. Johnston is planning on moving onto the horse judging team, and Gonzales will be attending Coastal Bend College after graduation.