For only the second time in more than 40 years, there was a tie for first place at the 91st National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest when the Virginia Tech team tied with the team from Cornell University. After the tiebreaker, Virginia Tech placed second overall in the contest held at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., on Oct. 3.

Team members are:

  • Carissa Doody of Union Bridge, Md., a junior dairy science major.
  • Cody Pearson of Millbury, Mass., a junior dairy science major.
  • Austin Schwartzbeck of Union Bridge, Md., a sophomore dairy science major.
  • Jason Zimmerman of Littlestown, Pa., a sophomore dairy science major.

After the scores were tallied, the Cornell and Virginia Tech teams tied with 2,485 points each. The teams’ scores in oral reasons served as the tiebreaker, allowing Cornell to barely edge out Virginia Tech for the win. Rounding out the top five teams overall were Penn State, University of Wisconsin – Madison, and University of Minnesota.

Michael Barnes, professor emeritus of dairy science and Katharine Knowlton, professor of dairy science, coached the team.

“I thought they did amazingly well, even better than we anticipated,” Barnes said. “We were the high team in terms of actually placing cows, and you really can’t get any better or any closer to first place.”

This year’s World Dairy Expo competition attracted 21 collegiate teams from around the country. All four of the Virginia Tech team members were named All Americans by virtue of placing in the top 25 for individual scores in the competition, and three team members — Doody, Zimmerman, and Schwartzbeck — ranked in the top 10 overall. Doody placed third overall and eighth in individual reasons, Zimmerman placed eighth overall, and Schwartzbeck placed ninth.

“We haven’t had all four Virginia Tech team members named All Americans since 1998,” Knowlton said. “These students had their best day of the year on exactly the right day — the national contest.”

Virginia Tech has won four national championships at the World Dairy Expo in the 30 years Barnes has been coaching. This is the fifth time in six years the team has placed in the top three of the competition.



Written by Kelly Robinson, a senior majoring in communications and international studies and an intern for the Office of Communications and Marketing in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
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