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KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– It’s a dirty job, but the University of Tennessee “Soil Vols” do it well.

 UT’s soil judging team finished third at the 1997 Southeastern Collegiate Soil Judging Contest held recently in Athens, Ga.

Dr. Tom Ammons, who heads soil research for the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station, said the strong showing qualifies UT for the national contest in Athens in April.

It also qualifies UT students for better jobs, he said.

 “Industry looks for soil scientist trainees who have collegiate soil judging experience,” Ammons said. “These students are better trained to make judgments and descriptions about different soils.”

 Ammons said the skills are important for many jobs, including wetlands protection, waste disposal, agriculture, and proper drainage for subdivisions.

 About 75 students on 11 teams participated in the regional contest. Virginia Tech and Auburn took first and second place.

 UT team member Scott Manning, a senior from Spring City, Tenn., placed third among 75 students in the contest. Vanessa Stevens, a UT senior from Camden, Tenn., was seventh.

 Other UT team members, all from Tennessee, include:

 Brian Bean, senior, Knoxville; Tommy Cook, senior, Nashville; Kevin Davis, freshman, Memphis; David Myers, senior, Cleveland; Zack Parham, junior, Piney Flats; Kevin Raley, senior, Chattanooga, and Jody Wright, senior, Summertown.

 UT coaches are Ammons, Janice Branson, and David Smith of UT’s plant and soil sciences department. The team was sponsored by the department and the UT Soil Judging Fund. —

 Contact: Dr. Tom Ammons (423-974-8804)