GRAND ISLAND, NE – Northeast Community College students excelled in a competition that showcases the best career and technical education students in Nebraska. Northeast crowned 19 state champion medalists and swept the competition in two categories at the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference held recently at the Heartland Events Center and Fonner Park in Grand Island.
In the competition, students in skilled and technical education science contests work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts. The philosophy of the championships is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers' needs.
More than 1,500 students competed in the event.
Northeast took the top three positions in the Architectural Drafting competition. Marco Moreno, South Sioux City, was named 2018 Nebraska State SkillsUSA Champion while Tanner Stelling, Milford, placed second, and Macy Olson, Albion, was third.
Northeast also swept the medal categories in the Internetworking competition. Jesse Wiseman, Hubbard, earned 2018 Nebraska State SkillsUSA Champion honors, while Andres Bustamante, Burwell, and Kelsi Havlovic, Norfolk, took second and third, respectively.
In Electrical Construction Wiring, Trevor Pecena, Wayne, was named the 2018 Nebraska State SkillsUSA Champion while Drew Eskins, Crofton, was second.
Northeast students also placed highly in the Industrial Motor Control competition. Dylan Eisenmann, Madison, earned the 2018 Nebraska State SkillsUSA Champion title, while Gene Kumm, Osmond, had a second-place finish.
In the Sheet Metal category, Austin Zoucha, Albion, was named 2018 Nebraska State SkillsUSA Champion, while Jordan Soby, Blair, took second.
Northeast students earned 2018 Nebraska State SkillsUSA Champion titles in a number of other categories. They include the team of Noah Wilcox, Norfolk, and Landen Scheffler, Madison, in Audio/Radio Production; Dylan Barg, Norfolk, in Automotive Refinishing; Joseph Stellato, Norfolk, in Automotive Service Technology; the team of Dustin Van Zee, Sioux Falls, SD, Henry Hagge, Bloomfield, Kaylee Dankert, Pierce, and Dustyn Stortzum, Silver Creek, in Broadcast News Production; Patrick Kosmacek, Stanton, in Computer Programming; Francisco Nuno, Wakefield, in Information Technology Services; the team of Kody Salak, Columbus, and Kyle Lentz, Hartington, in Mobile Robotics Technology; and Calvin Craig, Norfolk, and Kody Greenwood, North Bend, in Robotics: Urban Search & Rescue.
Several Northeast students took bronze and silver medals in other competitions. Matt Lewis, Bellwood, took silver in Carpentry, while Michael Zavala-Taylor, Lyons, was third in Collision Repair Technology. John Meis, Elgin, took third place in Diesel Equipment Technology; Caleb Storjohn, Seward, second in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC); and Bryce Coble, Onawa, IA, earned second in the Masonry competition.
In addition, Tanner Knight, Ord, received a $500 SkillsUSA Nebraska Scholarship Award, sponsored by the Nebraska Trucking Association for his 12th place finish in the Diesel Technology competition.
Twenty Northeast instructors - Tony Hoffman (electrical), Paul Bailey and John Nelson (HVAC), John Knapp and Michael McCarthy (welding), Ryan Hobza and Curtis Brandt (building construction), Tony Milenkovich (diesel), Bowdie Otte (automotive service technology), Brian Anderson (broadcasting), Lynnette Frey and Michael Holcomb (drafting), Dave Beaudette and Tom Hoile (auto body), Jay Pease (plumbing), Richard Chrisman and Brad Vogt (information technology), Phil Shimonitz (graphic design), Steve Wagner (diversified manufacturing) and John Liewer (wind energy) attended the competition as advisors.
As state champions, Barg, Craig, Dankert, Eisenmann, Greenwood, Hagge, Kosmacek, Lentz, Moreno, Nuno, Pecena, Salak, Scheffler, Stellato, Stortzum, Van Zee, Wilcox, Wiseman and Zoucha have qualified for the SkillsUSA National Championships, in Louisville, KY, June 25-29. More than 16,000 people, including students, teachers and business partners are expected to participate in the weeklong event.