HARD work and many hours spent in a meat chiller have paid off for the University of Adelaide's Intercollegiate Meat Judging team which has come home the most successful team the SA uni has produced in the event's 30-year history.
On the weekend in Wagga Wagga, NSW, third-year veterinary science student Kate Werfel became just the second student from the University of Adelaide to be named the individual champion.
Across the beef,lamb and pork classes the 20 year-old outscored more than 150 students from 12 Australian Universities, and four international teams from Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan and Texas Tech University, USA.
Ms Werfel said she never expected to win the prestigious Founders Buckle, presented by Australian ICMJ founder John Carter, but was thrilled.
Her only meat industry experience has been the 14 weeks of training prior to the event, along with entering a few young judges beef cattle competitions.
"I really enjoyed it so I guess I picked it up quickly and we had a great team of coaches," she said.
Ms Werfel, who is from Clare, has her sights set on going into large animal practice when she completes her degree.
"I had no idea before ICMJ how much of a role vets play in the meat industry," she said.
Later in the year Ms Werfel will attend an industry development week in Brisbane and vie for a spot on the Australian team to tour the United States next year.
Two other University of Adelaide students will join her in Brisbane after also ranking in the top 11 placings; Emma Peters from Clare and Kate Krause from Bordertown.
Ms Werfel, Ms Peters and Ms Krause were also members of the University of Adelaide's team, along with Hollie Mills from Melbourne, Vic, which finished second in the teams placings.
Texas Tech was the overall winner.
The coach's pick was awarded to third year Bachelor of Animal Science student Jade Marschall from Rockleigh who will also participate in the industry training.
Ms Marschall said ICMJ was great exposure to potential career opportunities.
"We learn a lot about what happens on farm at Uni so I thought it would be good to learn more about what happens after animals leave the farm, that whole paddock to plate," she said.
"I thought it would look good on my resume and the opportunity to meet peers and and potential employers was too good an opportunity to pass up."
University of Adelaide coach Farrah Preston was recognised for her dedication to ICMJ with the Tom Carr Award for Coaching Excellence.
She competed in the 2014 ICMJ event and then stepped up to be a coach for the past five years.
She said it was special to receive the same award as many coaches that she highly respects and who have helped her during ICMJ.
"The opportunities going to the ICMJ week opened up to me were amazing so I wanted to provide that same opportunity for other students to experience and to progress their careers as well," she said.
She said the 15 Ag Science, Animal Science and Vet Science students had been a "fantastic group".
Their weekly theory sessions and visits to Adelaide wholesaler Holco Fine Meats at Cavan, as well as TPL at Two Wells, had paid off.
Last week in final preparations the team spent a day at tafeSA's Regency Campus with meat lecturer Graeme Elliott which Ms Preston said was highly valuable.
"It is not just that last week but a reflection of the amount of work they have put in over the whole semester so it was nice to see them really rewarded," she said.
Ms Preston thanked the team's sponsors PIRSA, MPSC Rinse and Chill, Holco Fine Meats and tafeSA.