Fresno State soil judging team placed 20th overall in its second appearance in the Soil Science of America's National Soil Judging Contest. The Fresno State soil judging team placed 20th overall in its second straight appearance in the Soil Science Society of America’s National Soil Judging Contest, April 27 and 28.

Hosted by Northern Illinois University, the event featured competitors from 24 of the nation’s most respected collegiate agriculture programs. Students were evaluated by their ability to identify, evaluate, classify and describe soil profiles in individual and team competitions.

Fresno State’s six-person team consisted of plant science seniors Mark Castanon (Fresno), Aldo Garcia (Shafter) and Nancy Valdez (Wasco), juniors Jagdeep Basi (Sanger) and Ricardo Rodriguez-Baeza (Mendota) and sophomore Georgina Reyes Solorio (Livingston).

Basi was the team’s top individual competition placer (40th, 763), followed by Reyes-Solorio (49th, 749), Rodriguez-Baeza (71st, 726) and Garcia (87th, 681). Fresno State qualified for the event based on its second-place finish at the Region 6 Soil Judging Competition, held on March 4 at Fresno State. At that event Reyes and Basi finished second and third individually.

The second-year team is coached by Michael Sowers and Phil Smith. Plant science professor Dr. Dave Goorahoo and professor emeritus Dr. Bruce Roberts serve as team advisors. RESULTS; EVENT:  and Soils Contest; INFO: Geoff Thurner, 559.278.7221,