Two automotive technology students from Trumbull Career and Technical Center took home first place in the 21st Annual Automotive Technology Competition at the Cleveland Auto Show, besting four other two-member teams from Northern Ohio who also qualified for the “hands- on” portion of the competition.
Dylan Merkel and Jake Hancock earned the first-place finish.
Their instructor is David Gillies. Dylan and Jake will head to New York City courtesy of the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association, to compete in the National Automotive Technology Competition April 2 and 3.
“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.”
Gillies, who has been TCTC automotive technology instructor for 28 years, said it feels great to win.
“I am especially proud of these students,” he said. “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 a trip to New York to compete in the nationals, the two first-place winners will each receive a scholarship worth $4,000 to either Cuyahoga Community College or Stark State College.
Dylan also received a plaque in recognition for scoring the highest on the written portion of the competition, which took place in January.
“The five teams that competed in [last weekend’s] event represent the best and the brightest of the automotive technology students in our area,” said Dan Sanders, chairman of the Cleveland Auto Show. “We have had several of our teams do quite well at the national level. With the scores we have already seen on the written portion of the examination, and the level of expertise each team brought to the Competition at the Cleveland Auto Show, this year should be no different.”