Christenson takes top honors at regional soils contest

Soils Team
Pictured left to right are Carter Conderman, Ashley Lamm, Brooklynn Hill, Brock Stringfield, Jackson Christenson, Luis Avila Vette, Hope Saroka, Joanna Gerbitz, Tresa Jo Koopmeiners and Cora Brooks.

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Collegiate Soils Team competed in the 66th annual Region 3 Collegiate Soils Contest Oct. 17-20. The event was hosted by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Participating in the event were 84 students from nine universities in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.  

The event involves intensive field study of soils and landscapes and culminates in both individual and group competitions, which test the contestants' abilities to accurately describe soil and landscape features and to classify soil using a scientific system called Soil Taxonomy. The contestants also determine limitations of the soil for specific land uses, such as building sites, roads and septic systems based on specific soil properties and must indicate if the soil meets criteria of a hydric soil for wetland determinations. Scoring is based on the agreement between the contestant’s descriptions and those of a professional soil scientist serving as the contest official. Individual, group and overall team winners are recognized.

UW-Platteville’s Jackson Christenson, an agribusiness and soil and crop science major from Malone, Wisconsin, scored highest in the individual contest with 1,032 points. The team also placed second in the group judging portion of the contest and third place overall behind Purdue and UW-Stevens Point. By placing among the top teams, UW-Platteville qualifies for the National Collegiate Soils Contest to be held this spring in Iowa.

Other UW-Platteville students participating in the event were Luis Avilla Vette, soil and crop science major from Watertown, Wisconsin; Cora Brooks, ecological restoration and resource management major from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin; Carter Conderman, soil and crop science major from Byron, Illinois; Joanna Gerbitz, soil and crop science major from Johnson Creek, Wisconsin; Brooklynn Hill, industrial studies major from Appleton, Wisconsin; Tresa Jo Koopmeiners, soil and crop science major from Reedsburg, Wisconsin; Ashley Lamm, soil and crop science major from Freeport, Illinois; Hope Saroka, sophomore soil and crop science and environmental horticulture major from Canton, Iowa; and Brock Stringfeld, soil and crop science major from Randolph, Wisconsin. The team is coached by Dr. Chris Baxter, professor in the School of Agriculture.

Funding for team travel and equipment was provided by the Segregated University Fees Allocation Commission, the Doug and Jean Buhler Student Travel Grant and by donations made by alumni and friends to the UW-Platteville Foundation - Soils and Crops Teams Endowment Fund.

For further information, contact Chris Baxter at or visit