The FSCC team competed Sunday morning at the 2012 Cargill High Plains Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest, sponsored by the American Meat Science Association in Plainview and earned its second team title in three years as they outscored rival Clarendon (Texas) College 3,731 points to 3,636 points.
"That's a pretty substantial win," Coach Ryan Edgecomb said. "Anytime you can score over 3,700, that's a pretty solid score."
FSCC also won the national championship in 2010, scoring a record-high 3,813 points out of a possible 4,200. Last year, FSCC placed third at the national competition. Clarendon had won the title five of the last seven years.
FSCC's return to dominance was highlighted by its three All-American selections, who swept the first three places in individual high scores.
Jesse Birney, Scott City, won the individual high score; Cinnamon Feezell, of Golden City, Mo., placed second behind Birney; and Zach DeBusk, Girard, placed third.
Edgecomb said the All-American selections are 75 percent based on performance and 25 percent on grade point average. He noted this is the fifth time in 10 years that FSCC has had three students named to the All-American rolls.
Rounding out the team's performance, Levi Rapp, Rich Hill, Mo., placed 11th in individual high score and alternate Maggie Stowell placed sixth in high score in the alternate division.
The FSCC team placed first in all but two events en route to the championship.
The national title wasn't the only bright spot for the team this year, as they competed in five nationwide competitions and one invitational this past year. The squad placed first overall in Denver, Houston and Plainville and second at Lubbock, Texas, Garden City and Omaha, Neb.
Team members are on the road quite a bit during the school year, so Edgecomb said being a good student is vital to being part of the group.
"When we travel on a trip, it's not uncommon for us to be gone three to six days," Edgecomb said.
The team also travels every Wednesday for practice, to places like Overbrook, Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas State University in Manhattan.
The time commitment isn't without its rewards, though. Edgecomb said the kids learn a number of valuable life lessons by participating in meats judging.
"It opens a lot of doors for students," Edgecomb said. "Not every one of these students is actually an ag major, but judging teaches more than just meat and food science. It teaches students how to make a decision quickly and then be able to defend that decision by answering a series of questions."
He added that it also helps develop communication skills and critical thinking skills.
Edgecomb said he will take about a week break from coaching and then immediately start grooming his next team for competition.
"I'm pretty excited to get started with them and see what they can accomplish," Edgecomb said. "You don't get on top without a lot of practice. I have a totally new team every year because these students only get one year to complete their eligibility," Edgecomb said. "They will judge three competitions in the spring as freshmen and three in the fall when they are sophomores."
On Monday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m., the team will be honored during a ceremony at the Ellis Fine Arts Building, with a reception to follow.