AUBURN – The Clemson University Soil Judging team took second place overall at the 2016 Southeastern Collegiate Soil Judging Competition, and all four of its members finished in the top twenty in the individual standings.

The competition took place at Auburn University.

Left to right: Dara Park, Timothy Stoudemayer, Elizabeth Geddings, Dr. Bill Smith, Calum Henderson, Hunter Seiders

Left to right: Dara Park, Timothy Stoudemayer, Elizabeth Geddings, Dr. Bill Smith, Calum Henderson, Hunter Seiders

The Clemson team spent Oct. 3- 5 describing Piedmont and Coastal Plain soils before the competition, and then competed individually and as a team to describe soil morphology (color, textures, structure, horizonation, etc.) and determine landscape setting, land use limitations, and taxonomy for four soil profiles.

Clemson competed against universities including University of Tennessee-Knoxville, University of Tennessee-Martin, Murray State University, University of Georgia, Tennessee Technological University, West Virginia University, Virginia Tech, and West Kentucky University.

Out of the 59 students competing, all four Clemson students placed in the top 20 for individual scores : Elizabeth Geddings, plant and environmental science soil and water science major, 20th ; Calum Henderson, agricultural mechanization and business major, 9th ; Hunter Seiders, plant and environmental science soil and water Science major, 13th; and turfgrass major Timothy “Tee” Stoudemayer, 5th.

The team of Henderson, Stoudemayer, Geddings, and Seiders placed second overall, and will advance to compete at the national soil judging contest.

“I am so excited to go to nationals and see a new type of soil that I probably won’t get to see again, and I believe that we will be competitive since all four of us placed top twenty,” Stoudemayer said.

“Dr. Smith and I are very proud of the team. They worked really hard and have a great chemistry between them.  They are already asking when we can start preparing for the national competition,” said Dara Park, soil and water specialist and Associate Professor.

Dr. Bill Smith, Clemson Professor Emeritus and co-coach of the team, was honored for his 40 years of coaching. Smith has led teams to the national contest many years, resulting in individuals and teams placing first.

“Dr. Smith was definitely motivation for us to do well because it would be so special to go to nationals for his 40th year anniversary of coaching. He really taught us so much in the field and I don’t think we would have done as well if he hadn’t been there,” Stoudemayer said.

The competition is sponsored by the Soil Science Society of America, an international scientific society that encourages sustaining global soils and the American Society of Agronomy, which fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global agronomy. The National Soil Judging Competition will be held in April of 2017 at Northern Illinois University.