Penn State Students Place Second Overall in National Collegiate Poultry Judging Contest

Posted: May 12, 2015

Animal Science students placed second in national contest for the second straight year. Joshua Cassar was first place overall individual.
Penn State's winning poultry judging team.  From left: Coach Phillip Clauer, Benjamin Luksic, Camille Lewandowski, Joshua Cassar and Nathan Graybeal.

Penn State's winning poultry judging team. From left: Coach Phillip Clauer, Benjamin Luksic, Camille Lewandowski, Joshua Cassar and Nathan Graybeal.

For the second straight year, students from Penn State's Department of Animal Science placed second overall at the USPOULTRY Foundation Ted Cameron National Poultry Judging Contest held at Louisiana State University on April 15-17.  Josh Cassar, Lansdale, PA, was first place over all individual, the second consecutive contest in which a Penn State student captured that honor (the previous student was Isaac Haagen in Fall 2014 at AR).

The team placed first in the Market Product Division, tied for second in Breed Selection Division (were third due to a tie breaker), and placed third in the Egg Production Division.

Nine teams competed, with 36 individuals.

Texas A&M placed first with 3,950 points, edging out Penn State at 3,913 points. Other participating universities were Louisiana State, University of Arkansas, Kansas State University, Mississippi State University, the Ohio State University, West Virginia University and the University of Wisconsin, River Falls.

Representing Penn State in addition to Cassar were Nathan Graybeal, Annville, PA; Benjamin Luksic, Athens, PA; and Camille Lewandowski, Amissville, VA.  Phillip J. Clauer, Penn State Senior Instructor, coached the team.

Dr. Terry Etherton, Head of the Department of Animal Science said, "This is an outstanding performance by the poultry judging team and I offer them heartfelt congratulations. To perform so admirably in this highly competitive national contest is a tribute to the students' their preparation, hard work and dedication, and to the outstanding leadership of the poultry science staff in the Department. Their consistent showing nationally is remarkable."

The team's achievements include:

  • Cassar, in addition to being first overall, was first in the Market Products Division, sixth in the Breed Selection Division (a three-way tie for third before tie was broken); and tied for 11th in the Production Division. 
  • Lewandowski was fifth overall, seventh in the Market Products Division and tied for 11th in the Breed Selection Division. She was also in an eight-way tie for first place in the Production Division before tie was broken. 
  • Luksic was seventh overall; placed fourth in the Market Products Division and tied for 11th in both the Breed Selection Division and the Production Division.
  • Graybeal tied for seventh in the Breed Selection Division.

Cassar and Luksic will intern with Montaire Farms this summer. Graybeal will intern with Bell and Evans.

Clauer said, "Preparing for the contest is excellent background for the students as they prepare to enter the industry for careers. Learning to make decisions and to communicate their reasoning is extremely helpful as they apply for internships and enter the workforce."

The students prepared for the competition through a rigorous training program as part of a 14-week poultry science course. They then competed with fellow students during a 1600 point midterm exam over two, two-hour class periods to earn their spot on the Penn State team.

Clauer said he looks forward to preparing this team for the national contest held in the Fall at the University of Arkansas. He added, "This is one of the many opportunities available to students interested in studying poultry at Penn State. This year we again have more employment opportunities in the industry than we have graduates." If you are interested in a career in agriculture and are interested in poultry, contact Phillip Clauer for more information, and perhaps you will judging for the Penn State Team in a few years.

The Judging team received partial funding from the Office for Undergraduate Education "Student Activities Fund" to enable them to participate in this event.

Phillip Clauer can be reached at 814-863-8960 or by e-mail at