Laura Seitz, Deseret News
SANDY — Utah's best and brightest high school mechanics tried their hands at repairing deliberately “bugged” Ford vehicles this week as part of a nationwide automotive competition.
Separated into teams of two, 20 students from 10 high schools were given a full complement of tools to repair a 2013 Ford Focus SE, each of which included manufacturing defects.
Provo High's Parker Thomas and Jimmy Hicken took home first prize Thursday after succeeding as one of only four teams to get their car operational and off the lot during competition time Thursday at Salt Lake Community College's Miller Campus.
Riverton High's Hayden K. Haslam and Caden B. Knight finished second, and Steven Allcott and Taylor Wise of Woods Cross took third.
The Utah Ford/AAA Auto Skills Contest hands out about $9 million in scholarships each year nationally as a way to make young mechanics aware of career opportunities in the automotive service field.
“We’re really here to promote these kids’ interests and recognize their work,” said Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah spokeswoman. “We see a real shortage of mechanics.”
Ford sponsors student auto skills contests across the nation each year, and contest winners — including Thomas and Hicken — are invited to the national competition, which this year is being held in Dearborn, Mich.
Nearly 400 Utah students applied for the competition in a statewide written test. Teams of two from the top 10 scoring high schools were chosen to compete Thursday.
“All of these kids have something to brag about,” Fairclough said. “Just to get here is really an accomplishment.”
Each team was given 90 minutes to diagnose and repair the problems and then drive the vehicle around the block. While the competition was partly based on time, points were awarded for technical precision and deducted for unfixed mechanical problems.
“We knew what the problem was for an hour. It just took us that long to take care of it,” Allcott said. “They did a great job of making it really difficult.”
Woods Cross automotive instructor Evan Kirk said the 2013 challenge was especially difficult due to increasing computer technology under the hood.
“As cars have evolved, it’s less simply mechanical and more technological,” Kirk said. “Parents hear about mechanics and they still think it’s just this grease monkey thing, but they don’t think about the high-tech aspects.”
Teams from Northridge, Timpview, Clearfield, Hillcrest, Davis, Carbon and Fremont high schools also competed Thursday.
Email: email@example.com, Twitter: benlockhart89
- Autopsies of 7 infants completed; police...
- Atheists, Mormon scholars talk religion
- At UVU, Elder Oaks sees hope despite...
- Graphic video shows 7 shots fired without...
- Texas seizes FLDS Church's secluded ranch
- Judge orders girl to stand trial for...
- LDS Church reaffirms stance on immigration
- Appeals judges question right to sue in...
- LDS Church reaffirms stance on immigration 104
- Atheists, Mormon scholars talk religion 80
- 7 dead babies found in Pleasant Grove... 75
- At UVU, Elder Oaks sees hope despite... 63
- Utah, Oklahoma same-sex marriage cases... 43
- U., Ute Tribe reach agreement on... 37
- Doug Robinson: The first kiss and the... 24
- Mom accused of killing 6 newborns held... 24