SCC Milford hosts state finals of Ford AAA automotive contest

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High school students from across Nebraska work on cars during the Ford AAA Skills Contest at SCC's Milford Campus.

The Hastings High School team of Andrew Rutt and Tanner Cline captured first place in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition held Thursday at the Milford Campus of Southeast Community College.

The competition is open to high school juniors and seniors in secondary schools and colleges (serving local high schools) that offer courses in automotive technology and have at least one full-time or part-time automotive instructor.

Rob Schuster is the instructor for Hastings.

Ten two-person teams representing high schools from across Nebraska competed in the event. On Thursday, each team raced against the clock to correctly diagnose and repair deliberately “bugged” Ford vehicles. A combination of the online exam and hands-on competition scores determined the championship team. Rutt and Cline will now advance to compete in the national finals at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., June 7-9.

Following a written exam, the teams will face off in a timed competition during which they are required to diagnose and repair a different set of “bugs” in a 2015 Ford vehicle. The team with the best combined written test and hands-on competition scores will earn the national title.

Prior to Thursday, each participant was required to take the state qualifying exams.  The 10 highest-scoring two-person teams were selected to advance to the state finals, with only one team eligible per instructor.

SCC offers the Ford Automotive StudentService Educational Training program, a partnership between the College and Ford Motor Co. in cooperation with Ford and Lincoln dealers. Students entering the program must secure a Ford or Lincoln dealer to sponsor them during training.

Thursday’s results:

1, Hastings: Andrew Rutt and Tanner Cline; Rob Schuster, instructor.

2, Tekamah-Herman: Zach Ackerman and Dylan Larson; Graig McElmuray, instructor.

3, North Platte: Ryan Prevenas and Trevor Lee; William Kalblinger, instructor.

4, Lincoln High: Taylor Hillhouse and Marcelles Cherry; Donald Simpson, instructor.

5, Beatrice: Dominic Maguire and Kyle Wienke; Chuck Brockman, instructor.

6, O’Neill: Blake Walters and Kyle Fowler; Allen Spangler, instructor.

7, Gering: Nathan Adams and Daniel Waddle; Rick Kinnaman, instructor.

8, Omaha Public School Career Center: Matthew Summers and Extacy Keeran; David Pippert, instructor.

9, Omaha Public School Career Center: Brandon Morris and Ricardo Garcia-Abrego; John Taff, instructor.

10, Columbus: Ross Makovicka and Ivan Menjivar; Ron Haefner, instructor.

More than $120,000 in scholarships and prizes were awarded at the Nebraska state competition. Rick Morphew, program chair of SCC’s automotive programs on the Milford Campus, serves as the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Challenge state contest manager.

All new vehicles used in the contest were provided by Hertz Corporation. The state contest was organized and sponsored by AAA, Ford Motor Company, the Nebraska Department of Education, SCC, NAPA Auto, and Hertz Corporation.

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For more information contact:
Stu Osterthun
Administrative Director of Public Information and Marketing
402-323-3401
sosterthun@southeast.edu