Two students from the Trumbull Career and Technical Center in Champion will soon compete in a national competition.
Automotive tech students Dylan Merkel and Jake Hancock will travel to New York City after taking first place Sunday in the 21st annual Automotive Technology Competition at the Cleveland Auto Show.
For the competition, the two-member teams had to diagnose and find "bugs" that were planted on vehicles by a team of volunteer test proctors. Students had to complete a written exam to get to the Cleveland competition.
"It feels great to win," said Merkel and Hancock's instructor, David Gillies, who has been teaching automotive technology at TCTC for 28 years. "I am especially proud of these students. We didn't have as much time to prepare as we would normally have because of the days off in January due to bad weather. I can't wait to get to New York. I've been there before and I think with this team, we have a very good chance."
In addition to the trip, Merkel and Hancock each received a scholarship worth $4,000 to Cuyahoga Community College or Stark State College. Merkel received a plaque for scoring the highest on the written portion of the competition in January.
Second-place winners were Mark Salerno and Matt Miller and instructor Gary Mitchhart of Valley Forge High School; third place winners were Nicholas Falcon and William Cimino and instructor Joseph Lamatrice of Cuyahoga Valley Career Center. The second place winners received a scholarship for $750 to either Cuyahoga Community College or Stark State College, and third place finishers received a scholarship of $600.
"All of the students who competed here are already winners," says Dennis Rose, floor manager of the Cleveland Auto Show. "They came from a slate of 88 students who took the written portion of the competition. From those 88, we narrowed it down to five, two-member teams. Now we're down to just two."
The national competition will be held April 2 and 3. Merkel and Hancock's trip is courtesy of the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers' Association.