GRAND ISLAND, Neb. – Northeast Community College students captured a 64 individual medals in a competition that showcases the best career and technical education students in Nebraska. Northeast crowned 19 state champion gold medalists, 17 silver and 10 bronze medalists and swept the medal platform in several categories at the 2023 SkillsUSA Nebraska State Leadership and Skills Conference 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 automotive, building construction, computer-aided drafting, electronics, information technology, and welding. The philosophy of the championships is to reward students for excellence, involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers' needs.
More than 1,500 students across the state competed in more than 100 events.
Northeast Community College took the top three positions in several collegiate competitive categories.
Tyler Earnest, Grand Island, was named 2023 Nebraska State SkillsUSA Champion in Architectural Drafting, while Jaydn Weber, Norfolk, won silver and Fischer Carlson, Laurel, took bronze.
In HVACR (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration) Brodie Christensen, Yankton, So. Dak., claimed top honors with Owen Pruss, Fremont, taking second and Jackson Velazquez, Chambers, third.
Wyatt Wiemer, Herman, claimed gold in Industrial Motor Control. Carson Tesch, Norfolk, was awarded silver and Calvin Christensen, Hartington, the bronze medal.
Northeast claimed all three positions in Robotics: Urban Search & Rescue with Ramiro Lemus, Norfolk, and Eduardo Duque, Norfolk, awarded the gold, Rene Ramirez, West Point, and Alexander Kluthe, Pilger, earned silver and Dakota Fritzen, Albion, and Jason Fahrenholz, Norfolk, were presented the bronze medal.
Northeast teams capturing the top two positions include:
In Audio-Radio Production – Jeremiah Polak, Coleridge, finished first while Damon Crawford, Scribner, took the silver.
In Automotive Service Technology, Dahrran Cast, Hebron, was first with Alejandro Mora, Norfolk, taking second place.
Andrew Borgelt, Howells, and Colton Ruff, Grand Island, took gold and silver, respectively, in Carpentry.
In Criminal Justice, Yazmin Toral, Wayne, took gold while Keyton Sparks, Winside, was awarded the silver medal.
Jesse Green, Norfolk, was awarded gold in Electrical Construction Wiring with Carter Klug, St. Helena, presented the silver.
In Technical Computer Applications, Molly Sanchez, Norfolk, was first with Anthony Strizek, Norfolk, taking second.
Other award winners from Northeast were:
Advertising Design – Aubrie Klabenes, Neligh (2nd); Elizabeth Valerio Chairez, South Sioux City (3rd.)
Automotive Refinishing – John Houseman, Columbus (1st).
CNC 2 Axis Turning – Seth Kahny, Norfolk (2nd).
CNC 3 Axis Milling – Laikon Ames, Hoskins (1st).
CNC Programmer – Reydonaldo Garcia, Norfolk (3rd).
Collision Repair Technology – Cameron Armitage, Hoskins (1st).
Computer Programming – Dustin Brenden, Norfolk, (1st); Alexis Bentley, Omaha (3rd).
Crime Scene Investigation – Amanda Gonzales, Norfolk, Kennedy Shores, Lincoln, Jasmine Ostolaza, Norfolk (2nd); Isaias Juarez, Neligh, Ryen Haines, Ansley, Jake Bartosh, Norfolk (3rd).
Cyber Security – Matthew Bryce, Wayne, Joshua Schamp, Norfolk (1st).
Heavy Equipment Operator – Evan Schmitt, Laurel (1st).
Information Technology Services – Jeffrey Caauwe, Norfolk (1st).
Internetworking – Geoffrey Fisbeck, Valentine (2nd).
Masonry – Benjamin Wilcox, Tilden (2nd).
Mechatronics – Ethan Lavelle, Western, Cody Baumfalk, Panama (3rd).
TeamWorks – Anthony Isom, Allen, Bryce Buechter, Belgrade, Wade Paxton, Stuart, Wyatt Tesch, Granville (1st).
Technical Drafting – Ethan Dohmen, Pierce (2nd); Weston Neitzke, Hadar (3rd).
Video News Production – Alex Kasten, Sioux Falls, So. Dak., William Wesselink, Tea, So. Dak., John Coats, O’Neill, Rylan Niemoth, St. Libory (1st).
Web Design – Zachary Boeshart, Norfolk, Drake Boyle, Norfolk (1st).
Welding Fabrication – Trent Theewen, David City, Gabriel Lamprecht, Wakefield, Jacob Stam, Ord (2nd).
Dr. Wade Herley, dean of business and humanities and SkillsUSA coordinator at Northeast, was named SkillsUSA State Collegiate Advisor for 2022-23. The honor recognizes his role in mentoring the students of Northeast competing in the state event in Grand Island with many qualifying for nationals over the years.
Joining Herley in attending the competition and serving as advisors to the students were Brian Anderson, broadcasting, Paul Bailey, HVACR, Trevor Bailey, information technology, Dave Beaudette, autobody technology, Curtis Brandt, building construction, Drew Dolezal, media arts, Leon Finecy, machining and manufacturing automation, Bonnie Henkel, plumbing, Tony Hoffman, electrical construction & control, Ryan Hobza, building construction, Tom Hoile, autobody technology, Travis Kaup, diesel, John Knapp, welding, Matt McCarthy, criminal justice, Michael McCarthy, welding, Tony Milenkovich, diesel, John Nelson, HVACR, Joe Ottis, automotive technology, Brian Rastede, electrical construction & control, Lucas Reichlinger, information technology, Eric Roskland, electromechanical, Phil Schimonitz, graphic design, Eric Ternus, drafting, Brad Vogt, information technology, and Kenny Wurdinger, information technology.
As state champions, Northeast gold medal students have qualified for the Skills USA National Leadership and Skills Conference to be held June 19-23, in Atlanta, Ga. More than 6,500 career and technical education students - all state contest winners - will compete hands-on in 108 different trade, technical and leadership fields.
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. The organization serves middle school, high school and college students in programs in preparing them for technical, skilled and service careers. It was originally founded as Vocational Industrial Clubs of America in 1965. In 2004, the name was c hanged to SkillsUSA. Since 1965, the organization has served more than 13.5 million members. SkillsUSA enhances the lives and careers of students, instructors and industry representatives as they strive to be champions at work.
Northeast Community College students Jacob Stam, Ord, (left), Trent Theewen, David City, and Gabriel Lamprecht, Wakefield, work on a project in the Welding Fabrication competition during the 2023 SkillsUSA Nebraska State Leadership and Skills Conference in Grand Island. The three placed second as a team. Northeast students captured 64 individual medals in a competition that showcases the best career and technical education students in Nebraska.