The Dairy Judging Team, a competitive group of students in Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, won the Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest at the North American Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 3.

The students also won the team oral reasons competition and secured the top spot for their judging of two dairy breeds.

The winning team members included:

  • Ryan Haines, junior dairy science major from Taneytown, Md.
  • Danny Hardesty, junior dairy science major from Berryville, Va.
  • Katharine Pike, sophomore dairy science major from Cornish, Maine
  • Malorie Rhoderick, junior dairy science major from Mt. Airy, Md.


Katharine Knowlton and Michael Barnes, both faculty members in the Department of Dairy Science, coached the team.

There were 24 teams vying for honors in the national competition this year. Three of the Virginia Tech team members – Haines, Pike, and Rhoderick – ranked in the top 10 overall for individual scores at the competition. Haines scored No. 10 overall and No. 10 on oral reasons, and Pike ranked No. 9 overall and on oral reasons. Rhoderick, who ranked No. 7 overall at the competition, won first place for the high individual oral reasons score.

The Virginia Tech Dairy Judging Team also ranked third at the Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. The winning team members were:

  • Mike Bosley, junior dairy science major from Glenville, Pa.;
  • Jill Craun, senior dairy science major from Bridgewater, Va.;
  • Aaron Horst, junior dairy science major from Chambersburg, Pa.; and
  • Sonja Galley, senior dairy science major from Garrattsville, N.Y.


Nationally ranked among the top research institutions of its kind, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives more than 2,400 students in a dozen academic departments a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. Students learn from the world’s leading agricultural scientists, who bring the latest science and technology into the classroom.