UNOH Students Win Big at US Auto Tech Nationals

Posted on Tuesday, February 08, 2022


Semi-Finalists at USATNC includes 11 UNOH students

Written by Communications Specialist Georgia Beard

Throughout 2021 technicians across the country have been competing in the U.S. Auto Tech National Championship (USATNC), leading up to the finals in Nashville, Tennessee in December 2021. The USATNC’s goal is to find the ultimate auto tech by competing in challenges in the automotive field. The competition was divided into two categories, Professional Technicians and Student Technicians.

The University of Northwestern Ohio sent 17 students (out of a total of 32 finalist spots) to Nashville to compete.  Peter Alexander, Alex Black, Holden Clark, Grant Disser, River Dorn, Dallas Frueh, Randy Giroux, Chris Gutowsky, John Hartman, Quinn Idt, Keyan Jenkins, Trevor Jones, James McDonald, Colin Melcher, Jack Reusch, Allison Sanford, and Ashtin Slizewski represented UNOH in Nashville.  The competition entailed three segments over two days of competition. This opportunity gave students the chance to win prize money, meet successful individuals in the industry, and learn from experts.

The first stage of the finals was an electrical challenge that asked competitors to build a complex circuit including a fuse box, 2 relays, 2 switches, high beam lights, low beam lights, fog lights, and indicator lights for all three. Then there was an issue with the circuit that needed to be diagnosed and the competitor had to fill out a general knowledge booklet about electronics.

The field of competitors was cut in half to 16 for the second stage which was a speed run of who could change two u-joints without damaging the components, while also taking correct measurements and asking for the correct replacement parts. 11 of the 16 semi-finalists were UNOH students: Peter Alexander, Alex Black, Holden Clark, River Dorn, Dallas Frueh, Randy Giroux, Chris Gutowsky, Quinn Idt, Keyan Jenkins, James McDonald, and Colin Melcher.

The final segment entailed a small-block V8 that had two internal issues that the finalists had to accurately diagnose and fix within a two-hour time period, all the while trying to finish first. In a nod to the level of excellence that is a UNOH education, all 5 finalists for the competition were UNOH students: Peter Alexander, Alex Black, River Dorn, Randy Giroux, and Chris Gutowsky!

The champion of the Student Technicians category, and taking home a $40,000 cash prize, was UNOH’s very own, Randy Giroux, a current student studying High Performance Motorsports and Automotive Technology. Randy qualified for the finals in Nashville by going to the tryouts that were held on campus earlier in the year.

“To win the competition was the best thing I’ve ever experienced in my life,” Randy exclaimed. “I felt as if I was on top of the world! Everyone at the competition made me feel like a superstar.” Randy had an unforgettable experience at the competition and respected how well organized and managed the competition was. Truly bringing together top-notch mechanics for a great experience.

The competition wasn’t only an opportunity to put their knowledge to the test, but Randy noticed the standing of UNOH’s automotive program. “UNOH has an exceptional automotive program that is unmatched!” he stated. “It was proven in the competition considering the top five students of the competition were all from UNOH! I already had a good idea that the program I’m enrolled in is prestigious, but to see our students putting their skills and knowledge to work was really eye opening and impressive.”

2nd place, and $20,000, went to Chris Gutowski, and 3rd place, with a $10,000 check, went to Peter Alexander.

The U.S. Auto Tech National Championship will air on Thursday, February 10th at 10:00pm and Wednesday, February 13th at 12:00pm on Fox Sports 2 (FS2).

Category: Applied Technologies, Campus & Community

Keywords: USATNC, Technician

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Last updated: 02/08/2022