NEW YORK CITY - The drive of two students in Sentinel Career and Technology Center's automotive program resulted in a goal realized Wednesday.
Ricardo Galvan, a senior at Fostoria High School, and Matt Heater, a senior at Hopewell-Loudon High School, placed fourth out of 30 teams from across the country in National Automotive Technology Competition through New York International Auto Show in New York City Wednesday.
They advanced to the national competition after placing first in Cleveland Auto Show's automotive technology competition in February.
Heater said the goal was to place in the top 10 at the national contest.
"We made it. ... It means the world to me," he said.
Speaking by telephone Wednesday, instructor Jody Keegan said Galvan and Heater put a lot of time and effort into the competition. Both are going to be an asset to the automotive industry, he said.
"(I'm) just very proud," he said.
The two-day contest started Tuesday with competitors working at 10 stations to compete various tasks. Heater said the stations included measuring brakes, balancing tires, doing wiring and repairing a harness.
"Probably the most challenging station for me was the interview station. ... We practiced a lot for that," he said.
The hands-on work on a car was Wednesday. The boys' Lexus didn't start because of an issue with the fuel pump, and an electronic brake control module was unplugged. Also, a windshield wiper was cut, fluid was low and the tires had too much air.
Galvan said at first, he and Heater had to try to figure out what to do. The car contained a lot of problems, and they couldn't focus on just one. Once they got together and developed a game plan, they tackled it, he said.
"We did what we had to do," he said.
Heater said he felt he and Galvan worked as a team the whole time. They made a game plan and stuck to it, he said.
"I think it turned out really good for us," he said.
Keegan said he probably watched the competition consistently for the first hour and stopped back every half hour until it was done.
"I watched for a little bit. ... My nerves were getting the best of me, and I had to walk away," he said.
At the state contest, Galvan and Heater each won a 150-piece tool set and $4,000 toward schooling at Cuyahoga Community College, Ohio Technical College, Stark State College or University of Northwestern Ohio. At the national contest, they each won an additional $9,000 to use at University of Northwestern Ohio.
Heater said this week's event was his last competition as a student at Sentinel.
"I'm very satisfied with it," he said.