Today was contest day - two individual pits and three team pits. The team competition is everybody's favorite part of the contest and we owe that to the legacy of Dr. Terry Cooper, who originated and advocated for the team judging format - originally adopted in Region V and subsequently adopted at the national level. Thanks Terry!
The individual pits were similar to what the team had seen all week here in southwestern Missouri, but the team pits were certainly curve balls. The team pits included lithic/paralithic contacts that had not been previously described as well as an umbric epipedon. Although we won't find out how we fared individually, as a team, or overall until the final breakfast and awards banquet tomorrow morning, the team certainly proved their ability to work independently and as a group - recognizing both the umbric horizon and a lithic/paralithic contact. As was said today - "we spend all week trying to make them [the students] think like the official judges...in the end we just have to help the students think independently and hope they make the best decisions when they see something they've never seen before". Regardless of the outcome and official results tomorrow, this year's team has shown their ability to think independently - the most important part of this entire experience.
|Working on descriptions at individual pit #2 (Anna Hyytinen, Erik Schilling, Jeff Tanaka)|
|Wyatt Behrends preparing to nail his clay percentages at individual pit #1.|
|Texturing at individual pit #1 (Heather Ryan, Andrew Krinke)|
|Contestants and coaches at individual pit #1 on an upper landscape position.|
|Lunch and shade before the team judging event (Jeff Tanaka, Erik Schilling, Andrew Krinke, Heather Ryan, Anna Hyytinen, Wyatt Behrends)|
|Judging team pit #3 (Anna Hyytinen, Heather Ryan, Erik Schilling, Andrew Krinke, Jeff Tanaka, Wyatt Behrends)|