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Salina Students Fare Well at National Competition

Mike Strand / Salina Area Technical CollegeJuly 9, 2019

Students from Salina Area Technical College placed 4th, 6th and 11th in the nation at the SkillsUSA national competition in Louisville, Kentucky this past week.

Seth Nelson of Lindsborg, who graduated from Salina Tech in May with his Associate of Applied Science degree in Diesel Technology, placed fourth.

Ethan Oestmann, who graduated from Smoky Valley High School in May and has also been enrolled in Salina Tech’s Diesel program for the past two years, placed 11th.

Emilee Whelchel, from Mankato, graduated from Salina Tech’s Dental Assisting program in May, and placed 6th in that competition.

The three students qualified to attend the national competition by placing first in events at the Kansas SkillsUSA event in April.

Nelson, who works for Foley Equipment in Salina, said he found he was well-prepared for the competition, which included electrical troubleshooting, precision measurement, hydraulics, identifying vehicle parts and other events.

“I felt pretty good about everything,” he said. “It’s a tough competition, but we were well prepared.”

Nelson said the names of the top three in each competition were announced at the event.

“I was upset that I didn’t get third, since I thought I’d done pretty well,” he said. “Then we got back to the hotel and looked at the packet and saw how we all placed.”

“I was really shocked we did so well,” said Whelchel.

This was the first year Salina Tech’s Dental Assisting students participated in the SkillsUSA competition, and Whelchel said her classes had prepared her well for the events.

“Everything that came up we had done in school,” she said, adding she came back to Salina Tech on Thursdays after work to brush up on her skills with Dental Clinical Lab Assistant Kate Benton.

She is working as a Dental Assistant at Dental Care of Salina.

SkillsUSA is a nationwide organization serving more than 280,000 high school and college students and professionals who are enrolled in training programs in technical, skilled, and service occupations, including health care.





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