Empowering Communities, Celebrating Minnesota Locally

Ridgewater Students Excel in SkillsUSA Contests

HUTCHINSON and WILLMAR, MN – Ridgewater College students from four technical programs recently competed at the annual Minnesota SkillsUSA competitions and came home with five champions and five runners-up.

Karina Rice of Willmar, a second-year Automotive Technology student, won first place in the Automotive Technology contest hosted at St. Cloud Technical College. The challenge included 13 students competing at 13 automotive repair stations. Rice will advance to compete in the national SkillsUSA contest in Atlanta, Georgia, in June. Classmate Samuel Timmer (Prinsburg) brought home silver as a first-year Post-Secondary Options Enrollment (PSEO) student.

“This job as an automotive technician is definitely my calling!” Rice said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of my amazing instructors.”

Among the 17 Ridgewater Welding students who competed, the High School Fabrication team earned first-place gold honors at the Minneapolis Pipefitters’ Training Facility. Champions include Gibson Kirkvliet (Lester Prairie), Jake Hiles (Winthrop) and Cole Lindberg (Kimball). Earning second-place runner-up team honors in the College Fabrication division were Dominic Garcia (Hutchinson), Gage Dyre (Hutchinson) and Kellan Stevens Aldrich (Buffalo).

Additional Placings by Program-
Auto Body Collision Repair:
Refinishing: 2, Cody Nadgwick (Kensington); 3, Cody Sievert (Gibbon)
Collision: 3, Justin Jaeger (Hutchinson)

College Individual Welders:  4, Cody Simon (Norwood); 7, Lexi Karnes (Buffalo); and 13, Joe Roepke (Arlington)
High School (PSEO) Individual Welders: 4, Kaden Otto (Lester Prairie); 6, Brody Nathe (Annandale); and 7, Aloysha Frick (Brownton)

Agriculture Equipment Mechanic:
Diesel Equipment: 35, Nic Walstrom (Belgrade); 45, Connor Danielson (Atwater)

(Photo L to R: Ridgewater’s Karina Rice of Willmar is heading to the National SkillsUSA contest after earning gold in the Automotive Technology event at the Minnesota level.  Ridgewater’s Welding Fabrication team also earned gold in the high school division. Champions include Gibson Kirkvliet (Lester Prairie), Jake Hiles (Winthrop) and Cole Lindberg (Kimball).