High schools from Utah, Idaho and Oregon were given a chance to compete head-to-head during the championship round of the Weber State University AutoTech competition on Feb. 12.
The 12 schools that participated in the championship round were selected using the scores of a written exam, which was originally administered to 35 schools on Dec. 4. Each one of the top 12 schools sent a two-student team plus an alternate to the championship round to compete.
The four-hour long championship round consisted of 12 judged work stations, each testing skills set by the National Automotive Technician Education Foundation.
The championship round focuses on the first eight areas that are part of the Automotive Service Excellence certification requirements, according to Jessica Slater, the office manager for WSU’s Automotive Technology Department and the lead organizer for the competition.
The 12 stations at the competition included:
- Steering and suspension #1
- Steering and suspension #2
- Maintenance/light repair
- Electrical diagnosis on vehicle
- Heating and cooling
- Engine performance
- Brakes #1
- Brakes #2
- Automatic transmission
- Manual drivetrain
At 3:45 p.m., the final section of the 28-year-old competition came to an end, and the participating students were able to reflect on the task that they had just completed.
“I think we did pretty well,” said Christian Beaumont, a senior at Provo High School. “We were a little better at first, but then we got kind of tired near the end.”
Beaumont explained what his best and worst stations were.
“I did pretty well with the one balancing the tires, because I work at Discount Tires and knew what to do with it,” Beaumont said. “The alignment one was kind of hard because we didn’t get the best instruction, so it was confusing to figure out what to do.”
After the competition ended, there was an hour-long break as the judges left and the scores for the championship round were tallied up.
“What I liked about the students was that they all showed enthusiasm for what they were doing,” said Steven Robinson, district manager of after sales for Chevrolet and a long-time judge of the competition. “They showed passion and excitement while trying to do a good job.”
Out of the 12 schools that participated, the team from Syracuse High School, including Tyler Fralick, Caleb Hill and alternate Jeremy Lafleur, finished first in the competition.
“These kids are every bit of it,” said Wayne Burbank, automotive instructor at Syracuse High school. “They are outstanding kids with tons of potential.”
As an award, the winning school’s automotive department received a 2006 Buick Lucerne to tear apart, a GM tech tool and GM service information. Both Fralick and Hill each received a $1,500 scholarship to WSU’s automotive program, along with a tool cart and various tools.