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MADISON - Marathon County and runner up Iowa County livestock judging teams will represent the state of Wisconsin at the national judging contest this fall.

Judging teams from across the state battled during the State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest held July 23 at the Stock Pavilion at UW-Madison. This annual venue allows the top junior and senior county 4-H Livestock judging teams the opportunity to apply their skills in evaluating beef, swine, sheep and meat goat classes in hopes of qualifying for a national livestock judging event this fall.

This year's competition consisted of eight teams in the senior division and 14 teams in the junior competition. The contest consisted of evaluating classes of market and breeding beef, market and breeding swine, market and breeding sheep, market goats as well as answer questions and deliver sets of oral reasons.

The teams competing on July 23 qualified for the state contest by being top teams at the district Area Animal Science Days that were held around the state in June.

The top two teams in the Senior Division will go on to represent Wisconsin at a National Judging Contest in Louisville, KY in November. Marathon County earned top honors in the senior division thanks to the efforts of team members Kailen Smerchek, Malorie Schmoll, Stephanie Witberger and Hunter Falkowski. The team is coached by Dan Smerchek and Ty Bayer.

Coming in second place was the Iowa County team comprised of Morgan Vondra, Brady Palzkill, and Brandon Springer. They are coached by Jeff Thomas, Mike Robinson and Matt Heins.

Third place team honors went to Sheboygan County. The team of Caden Nicolaus, Anna Kitzerow, Alisha Klemme, and Isaac Kohlman are coached by Chad Kohlman.

Fourth place was awarded to Jefferson County. Team members Alexis Schultz, Colton Klecker, Danielle Chwala and Trevor Messmer are coached by Ed Bielinski. Rounding out the competition in fifth place was Pierce County: Team members Jacob Boatman, Isabelle Hudson and Lindsey Augustine are coached by Caleb Dressen and Megan Geraets.

The top ten seniors that amassed the highest point total in judging competition were 1st: Kailen Smerchek, Marathon, 2nd: Morgan Vondra, Iowa, 3rd: Caden Nicolaus, Sheboygan, 4th: Anna Kitzerow, Sheboygan, 5th: Hannah Tremaine, Waukesha, 6th: Alexis Schultz, Jefferson, 7th: Malorie Schmoll, Marathon, 8th: Blake Johnson, Trempealeau, 9th: Stephanie Witberler, Marathon and 10th: Kendra Jentz, Grant.

Marathon County also earned the top finish in the reasons team competition. The top five reasons individuals were: Kailen Smerchek, Marathon, Morgan Vondra, Iowa County, Anna Kitzerow, Sheboygan, Hannah Tremaine, Waukesha, and Malorie Schmoll, Marathon.

The Marathon County judging team also swept the beef, sheep/goat and swine team divisions.

Junior Division

Grant County topped 13 teams to earn the top junior team honors. Team members were:Luke Patterson, Jessica Patterson, Avery Crooks and Brendan Jentz. They are coached by Dennis Patterson.

Finishing second was the Iowa County junior team comprised of Joey Robinson, Emma Steffes, Annie Robinson and Ryan Schubert. They are coached by Jeff Thomas and Mike Robinson.

Rounding out the top five teams in third place was Columbia County with team members Samantha Rake, Summer Rake, Ryli Theis and Macy Cross, with Cara Cross and Todd Taylor sharing coaching duties. Jackson County placed fourth with Trent Laufenberg, Luke Fischer, Grace Kling and Austin Laufenberg on its team coached by Jessie Oberlin. Sheboygan County earned a firth place finish with team members Ethan Kohlman, Brayden Peter, Cora Kolhman, and Alison Gartman. The team is coached by Chad Kohlman and Liz Gartman.

The top ten individual judges in the junior division were: 1st: Luke Patterson, Grant County, 2nd: Jessica Patterson, Grant County, 3rd: Joey Robinson, Iowa County, 4th: Cora Capatske, Pierce County, 5th: Emily Zukowski, Dunn County, 6th: Trent Laufenberg, Jackson County, 7th: Samantha Rake, Columbia County, 8th: Madelyn Thornton, Grant County, 9th: Emma Steffes, Iowa County, 10th: Summer Rake, Columbia County.

The top beef team went to Grant County, top swine team went to Iowa County and top sheep/goat team went to Columbia County. Top Reasons individual honors for juniors were presented to Jessica Patterson, Grant County and top reasons team for the junior division went to Grant County.

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