High School Welding, Auto Competitions test student skills
May 9, 2016
High school students from throughout the Northwoods recently took part in the Welding and Auto Competitions at Nicolet College, testing and honing their skills in a wide variety of different scenarios.
In the Welding Competition, preliminary rounds earlier in the year whittled the competitors to the top 24 for the finals. Top individual honors went to Josh Chitko, Laona, first place; Jordan Belland, Laona, second place; and Bradley Mihalko, Crandon, third place.
Overall team trophies went to Laona, first place; Crandon, second place; and Rhinelander, third place.
Student welders who qualified for and competed in the finals included, first row, left to right, Tom Roble, Mercer; Logan Johnson and Zach Rusch, Rhinelander; Aaron Ewert and Joe Maillette, Northland Pines; Thomas Kolling, Phelps; Cole Schroeder and Daniel Brownell, Elcho; back row, Colby Nelson, Goodman-Armstrong Creek; Riley Hoffman, Wabeno; Bradley Mihalko, Race Stamper, Kurtis Johnson, all from Crandon; Jordan Belland, Jake Chitko, Fletcher Cleereman, and Josh Chitko, all from Laona.
Students from Tomahawk also competed in the finals but had to return to the high school before this photo was taken.
While the annual event gave more than 140 students the chance to sharpen and show off their welding skills, it also did much more, said Jeff Labs, interim dean of Trade, Industry and Apprenticeships at Nicolet.
“It also gave students the chance to explore welding as a possible career and experience what the welding program is like at Nicolet,” Labs said. “The skills training Nicolet offers is very cost effective and gives graduates the exact skills they need to start a career in welding.”
In the Auto Competition, top individual honors went to Jed Everson, Rhinelander, first place; Lucas Price, Rhinelander, second place; and Tommy Olson, Crandon, third place. Overall team trophies went to Rhinelander, first place; Crandon, second place; and Mercer, third place.
Students pictured here who participated in the event were, front row, left to right, Riley Vandoren, Jed Everson, Lucas Price, Sam Julson, all from Rhinelander; Wyatt Chaney, Tommy Olson, Branden Boney, Charles Allen, all from Crandon; back row, Jonathon Miller, Dominic Darley, Cody Reeves, Caleb Rockafield, all from Eagle River; and Avery Brandt, Kyle Lukes, Tyler Bianga, James Reichard, all from Mercer.
Of all the skills training Nicolet offers in the trades, the Auto field has undergone one of the more dramatic technological advancements over the past decade, Labs explained.
“These students get it,” he said. “They know that learning how to operate the technology, whether it’s the diagnostic equipment in the shop or the computers in our vehicles, is the way to go for a successful career today as an auto technician.”
Labs added that every year many students enroll in Nicolet’s two-year Automotive Technology associate degree program to acquire the exact skills dealerships, repair shops, and other automotive enterprises are looking for in new employees.
“Nicolet offers a comprehensive training program that starts with the basics and uses that as the foundation for students to learn more advanced skills,” he said. “What we’re seeing is that many get jobs in the field while they are students and they continue taking classes to learn more advanced skills and earn their associate degree.”