NTC Afton was the setting for the SkillsUSA Regional Welding
Fabrication Competition last Friday, and Afton’s Post-Secondary Team
placed first. Advancing to the SkillsUSA State Competition in April are
teammates Curtis Hargon, Nathan Lamphere and Clayton Hokit.
Northeast Technology Center’s Afton Campus played host to students competing in this year’s SkillsUSA Regional Welding Fabrication Competition, and it would be the NTC Afton team that laid claim to one of the top spots.
“I was really proud of my guys during the competition,” said NTC Afton Welding Instructor Corey Winesburg. “They put a lot of effort into preparing for their project, and in the end, it paid off for them.”
The SkillsUSA Welding Fabrication Competition is a team event that requires three students from each school to use their skills to build a project from the given materials and blue prints. Several different welding and cutting processes are used during the competition, and students must work together to complete the project during the allotted time. The teams are divided into two categories: high school and post-secondary.
“Our post-secondary team took first place, and given that these guys competed in the high school division last year, I would have really given them a hard time if they placed anywhere but first,” Winesburg said. “Our high school team was made of first-time competitors, and they did well. They took second in their category.”
Josh Alley, the first-year welding instructor from NTC Kansas, brought two teams of students to compete in the regional competition hosted at Afton. Based on their location, NTC Kansas and NTC Afton are in the same region and thus go head-to-head in the SkillsUSA Regional and State Competitions.
"We knew it would be a tough competition – we practiced hard and gave it our all,” said Alley. “Our post-secondary team took second, losing only by 13 points. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we get a wild card slot and still get to compete in state. Our high school team placed fourth. I am very pleased at how our Kansas team performed."
SkillsUSA is a national student organization that offers training, career opportunities, scholarships and prizes through annual competitions. Depending on the program, students may compete at regional, state or national levels. In total, NTC will have three students from the Afton Welding Program competing at the SkillsUSA State Welding Fabrication Competition. Those students include:
- Nathan Lamphere, Langley – 1st Place Post-Secondary
- Clayton Hokit, Fairland – 1st Place Post-Secondary
- Curtis Hargon, Quapaw – 1st Place Post-Secondary
“We have some things to work on before the state competition, but we have a good chance to make it to nationals again this year,” Winesburg said. “I push the guys pretty hard, but they hold themselves to a high standard too – that’s what makes this fun.”
Over the course of the next few weeks, NTC welding students will also be competing in individual welding competitions that test various aspects of their welding skills, and yet other students will compete in welding sculpture.
The Welding Programs at NTC are some of the district’s most popular programs, and each has gained a reputation for excellence. Last year, the welding fabrication team from NTC Kansas placed second at the SkillsUSA National Competition.
Welding classes fill up quickly, and enrollment for next year is already underway. For more information about NTC Welding Programs at Afton Kansas or Pryor, contact district at 918-825-7040.