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Penn State Soil Judging Team takes 1st at 2013 Northeast Regionals in Adamstown, MD.

Posted: October 29, 2013

Forty-six students competed in the contest’s individual component. Five Penn State students placed in the top 20.
Left to right: Greg Ritson, Rachael Krizmanich, Scott King, Erin Trouba, John Dawyot Jr. Kaitlyn Benson, Max Michovsky, Nancy Kammerer, Devon Turner, Jacob Gogno (kneeling) and graduate assistant Emily Woodward. Not pictured is coach Patrick Drohan.

Left to right: Greg Ritson, Rachael Krizmanich, Scott King, Erin Trouba, John Dawyot Jr. Kaitlyn Benson, Max Michovsky, Nancy Kammerer, Devon Turner, Jacob Gogno (kneeling) and graduate assistant Emily Woodward. Not pictured is coach Patrick Drohan.

During the week of October 21st - 25th, University of Maryland hosted the Northeast Regional Soil Judging Contest at the beautiful Matovich Farm in Adamstown, MD. The contest is an annual event, which allows students to practice describing and interpreting soils at different northeastern schools. The top schools from each region then compete in a National event held the following Spring. This year, students practiced describing soils formed in Piedmont and Ridge and Valley Province soils across Maryland, and competed in individual and group judging events on Friday. Seven teams competed this year. Attending were the University of Maryland (who placed second and hosted the contest), the University of Rhode Island (who placed third), Delaware Valley College, Wilmington College, Richard Stockton College, The Ohio State University, and Penn State

Penn State fielded two teams. Team A consisted of: Kaitlyn Benson, a junior Environmental Resource Management (ERM) major from Elizabethtown, PA; John Dawyot Jr., a senior ERM major from Landenberg, PA; Jacob Gogno, a senior ERM major from Pottsville, PA; Max Michovsky, a senior ERM major from Ebensburg, PA; and Erin Trouba, a senior ERM major from Avon Grove, PA. Team B was comprised of: Nancy Kammerer, a junior Agroecology major from Gettysburg, PA; Scott King, a senior non-degree major from Hillsgrove, PA; Rachael Krizmanich, a senior ERM major from Edinboro, PA; Greg Ritson, a junior ERM major from Limerick, PA; and Devon Turner, a junior ERM major from Phillipsburg, PA.

Penn State's Team B, placed 3rd in Group Judging and 1st overall as a team. Team A did well too, but did not place.

Forty-six students competed in the contest’s individual component. Five Penn State students placed in the top 20: Kammerer placed 1st; Turner placed 6th, Gogno 10th, Benson 13th, and Krizmanich 16th. Coach Patrick Drohan, Associate Professor of Pedology, said “The team did exceptionally well this year given so many of them were new to soil science and soil judging”. The team was also assisted by SOILS graduate student teaching assistant Emily Woodward.

Penn State teams have participated in national and regional soil-judging competitions since the 1950s, Drohan noted. The contest is part of the Soil Science Society of America's commitment to soils education and provides participating students with an opportunity to see new soils and to test their skills against peers from across the region.

"The team’s commitment to furthering the soil science profession and soil science at Penn State is something they can be very proud of.  Students in the ERM soil science option have 100% job placement over the last 5 years" he said.

The team has qualified to go nationals this Spring, which will be hosted by Delaware Valley College, Doylestown PA. Traveling to Nationals will be a great experience for the students, but costly, Drohan pointed out. He urged anyone interested in supporting the team to contribute to the squad's travel fund here: http://soiljudging.psu.edu/

For more information about the team, and the 60 year+ history of Soil Judging at Penn State, see: http://soiljudging.psu.edu/.

 

Also see a nice story about the contest in the Frederick News Post.