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April 23, 2008

Cowley student takes first place at SkillsUSA State Contest


Jeff GageJeff Gage, a student in Cowley College’s Precision Machining class, took first place in the SkillsUSA Kansas State Contest held last Thursday at the Wichita Area Technical College.

“I went there with no expectations, I just wanted to get a feel for it for next year,” Gage said.

However, Gage’s first place finish was no surprise to Precision Machining instructor Dan Squires.

“Jeff spent the last six weeks practicing for this, it was not something he took lightly,” Squires said. “He spent probably 50 percent more time in the shop than was required of him.”

By placing first, Gage (pictured) will get to take part in the SkillsUSA National Contest held June 23-28 in Kansas City, Mo. Gage will be going up against 52 participants.

Along with the teaching from Squires, Gage will receive tutoring leading up to the national contest from former Cowley College student Ryan Hernandez, who was a national champion at the SkillsUSA National Contest. David Padgett from Business and Industry will also be helping prepare Gage.

“I think Jeff will do well,” Squires said. “He is more than willing to put in the work to do this.”

Cowley also had two Mechatronics teams place second and third at the SkillsUSA Kansas State Contest held last Wednesday in Winfield.

Brian Friend and Chris Campbell took second place, while George McDowell and James Fitzer took third place in Post Secondary Mechatronics.

The four Cowley students are all in the first year of a two-year program, whereas the team from Kaw Area Technical college that finished first were all in their second year.