Record number of UBTech students compete at Nationals SkillsUSA

By Stephanie Carter

Uintah Basin Technical College students recently returned from the National SkillsUSA competition in Atlanta, Georgia where they kept UBTech’s 6-year winning streak alive.

UBTech sent 25 gold medalists representing Utah in their respective skills categories to compete against the best in the nation. The college has had a national medalist at SkillsUSA continuously since 2017. This year was no different.

Brooklyn Connelly brought home the gold in First Aid/CPR and Kristopher Morgan received the silver medal in Diesel Equipment Technology.

“To see my name on the screen for one of the top three medalists – was the best feeling in my life,” said Connelly. “When my name was read as receiving gold, it rendered in me great confidence knowing that if I put my mind to something I can achieve it.”

“I am so grateful for the help and aid I have received from my training from Uintah Recreational Center as a lifeguard, my instructors and advisors at UBTech, and my friends and family.”

Morgan said he set a goal of landing in the top three in his category at the national contest.

“I thought to myself ‘hallelujah! I did it!’” said Morgan. “When my name was announced for silver, I was ecstatic.”

“My instructor, Justin (Jorgensen), helped me tremendously,” Morgan shared. “He has taught me everything I know about semi-trucks. I have Justin to thank for my silver medal.”

Another record UBTech students broke at nationals, was the number of students who placed in the top five and top 10 in their respective categories. Three UBTech state gold medalists finished in the top five and an additional two students placed in the top 10.

Shane Riley placed 4th in Power Equipment Technology, Ethan Bowden placed 4th in Carpentry, Suzanna Goodlow placed 5th in Job Interview, Stacyn Thorlaksen placed 8th in Welding Sculpture and Valirie Serawop placed 9th in Extemporaneous Speech.

“Having such a large number of students compete at the national level reflects the quality of career and technical education the faculty at UBTech provide,” said UBTech President Aaron Weight.

“We are pleased with the growth and expansion our SkillsUSA chapters have experienced as a result of generous community partnerships and look forward to additional students having opportunities to participate and compete,” Weight said.

Thanks to a partnership between Iowa Tank Lines and UBTech, students were able to compete and travel to the national competition at no cost. Todd Bro, owner of Iowa Tank Lines, and the college formed the partnership in 2020 to help students with the financial costs of competing at SkillsUSA.

“We want to provide an easier financial path for students who want to participate in SkillsUSA,” said Bro. “There is great satisfaction that comes with being involved with our community. I have great love for the concept of what UBTech does, the concept of working with your hands, offering an education that is available to everybody.”

Prior to their sterling showing at nationals, earlier this year at state SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Competition students from UBTech broke two of the college’s previous records – earning the most medals and bringing home the highest number of gold medals from the state SkillsUSA contest.

At state five students received bronze, eight received silver and a whopping 25 students received gold. The 25 gold medalists were invited to the national competition.

Those state gold medalists included: Ricardo Madriz, Automotive Refinishing Technology, secondary student; Dallin Jensen, Automotive Service Technology, secondary student; Elizabeth Centeno, Carpentry, post-secondary student; Ethan Bowden, Carpentry, secondary student; Kristopher Morgan, Diesel Equipment Technology, secondary student; and Valirie Serawop, Extemporaneous Speaking, post-secondary student.

Gage Campbell, Information Technology Service, secondary student; Suzanna Goodlow, Job Interview, post-secondary student; Sierra Lee, Medical Terminology, secondary student; Isabelle James, Nurse Assisting, secondary student; and Brooklyn Connelly, First Aid/CPR, secondary student.

Shane Riley, Power Equipment Technology, secondary student; 4-person team, Kolby Winterton, Taylor Young, Carston Denver, and Delmor Cook, TeamWorks, secondary students; and 3-person team, Strayden Olsen, Devin Dahlberg, and Lucas Duncan, Welding Fabrication, secondary students.

Four-person team, Adam Hadlock, Laura Anderson, Ashlyn Angus, and Betny Allen, Health Knowledge Bowl, secondary students; Stacyn Thorlaksen, Welding Sculpture, secondary student; and William Hansen, Welding, post-secondary student.

“I’m so proud of them all. It was astounding to have that many competitors. My wish is for the Uintah Basin community to realize the numerous possibilities and opportunities they have,” said Vice President of Public Affairs and Student Advancement Stephanie Carter.

“These students took advantage of an opportunity to learn a skill at a technical college. The result was not only being named the best in the state, but among the best in the nation. Come experience UBTech, it could truly change your life,” said Carter.

UBTech student, Brooklyn Connelly, celebrating on the National SkillsUSA Medalist stand, she brought home the gold in the First Aid/CPR competition.

UBTech student, Kristopher Morgan, celebrating his Nationals SkillsUSA silver medal in Diesel Equipment Technology.

UBTech student, Ethan Bowden, looking at his building plans during his Carpentry competition at the Nationals SkillUSA competition. He was a top 5 finalist, finishing in 4th place.

UBTech student, Shane Riley, working on the test portion during his Power Equipment Technology competition at the Nationals SkillUSA competition. He was a top 5 finalist, finishing in 4th place.

UBTech student, Suzanna Goodlow, all smiles after completing her Job Interview competition at the Nationals SkillUSA competition. She was a top 5 finalist, finishing in 5th place.

UBTech student, Stacyn Thorlaksen, posing with her sculpture piece at the Nationals SkillUSA competition. She was a top 10 finalist, finishing in 8th in Welding Sculpture

UBTech student, Valirie Serawop, getting ready to compete in Extemporaneous Speech at the Nationals SkillUSA competition. She was a top 10 finalist, finishing in 9th.

Twenty-five UBTech students, all Utah gold medalists, traveled to compete at the National SkillsUSA competition in Atlanta, Georgia. Including two state officers, Ashlynn Bascom as the state Vice President, and Scotlyn Williams (standing in for Abbey Evans) as the state Eastern Region Representative. Not pictured, Elizabeth Centeno.

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