Going for the gold

More than 35 students are headed to Columbus next month to compete in the 62nd annual SkillsUSA Ohio Championship.

Students from across the state are to compete in 89 competitive skills and leadership events. The competition is set for April 15 and 16. Gold-medal winners from the state competition then move onto the national competition in Kansas City in June.

Dustin Benner, collision repair technology senior from Hopewell-Loudon High School, is to compete in the collision repair competition at state. During the regional competition, he received gold for repairing a fender.

Benner said he was happy with his work during the competition, adding “it took a lot of practice.”

Benner said he would practice welding before and during school.

Fixing cars is something Benner said he always has enjoyed doing. He said his father was a mechanic and it is something he wanted to continue.

Benner said he hopes to go to nationals. Even if he doesn’t, Benner said, the competition has made him a better person. After graduation, he plans to attend Universal Technical Institute to become an auto technician.

Public safety competitor Douglas McDonald, a senior at Columbian High School, received silver during regionals in the criminal justice competition.

The competition consisted of McDonald going through scenarios of a real-world police officer.

McDonald is planning to attend Tiffin University to one day work with the FBI in counter-terrorism. McDonald said he wants to be able to save people.

Like some contests, McDonald said the criminal justice contest is special because you don’t know what the advisers are going to ask them to do.

“It is a challenge because you don’t know, but at the same time, it gets rid of the nerves and doesn’t allow you to overthink a decision,” he said.

Teams also are competing.

This year’s tech prep showcase team has worked with the Tiffin Fire Department and Mercy Tiffin Hospital to teach hands-only CPR. Combined, the team of seniors Ashley Perry and Megan Somodi of Calvert High School and Sidney Baker of Columbian, taught 1,093 people.

Somodi said the team worked with several area schools.

“With teaching the students, we told them to then go teach five more people to spread the word,” Somodi said.

“The girls put a lot of work into their project,” said Sandy Reinhart, medical technology instructor at Sentinel. “They gave up many of their days to help teach people.”

Reinhart said the girls hope to earn gold at state.

“The girls have always been one point shy, earning silver. Our goal this year is to get a gold,” she said.

Becka Heidler of Columbian and Krista Ward of Old Fort High School, seniors in the medical technology program, competed in the health knowledge bowl, earning bronze as team one at regionals. Their teammates were juniors Mackenzie Moyer of Columbian and Dominic Solis of Upper Sandusky.

Team two in the health knowledge bowl consisted of seniors Chelsea Fitschen of Mohawk, Kaylee Sherer of Old Fort, juniors Rachel Groves of Calvert and Kaitlin Huffman of

Seneca East. That team took gold at regionals.

Other students to compete are juniors Daniel Arbogast of Hopewell-Loudon; Ciara Digby of Columbian; Jordan Donaldson of Hopewell-Loudon; Cale Felter of Seneca East; Katlyn Hahler of Seneca East; Jonathan Lotycz of Old Fort; Brady McWilliams of Seneca East; Cliff Miller of Columbian; Austin Parrott of Columbian; Nathaniel Payne of Upper Sandusky; Marisa Romig of Columbian; Phillip Stanley of Upper Sandusky; Nicholas Vogel of Columbian; Jacob Wages of Upper Sandusky; Jeffrey Warnick of Seneca East; and seniors Olivia Borer of New Riegel; Garrett Crapo of Seneca East; Daniel DeJean of Upper Sandusky; Jared Downs of Seneca East; Ciara Long of Mohawk; Cheyanne Lykins of Upper Sandusky; Jerad Raypole of Mohawk; Danielle Swanagan of ECOT; and Anderson Tyree of Seneca East.