For the Star Journal
Students from the 11 high schools in the Nicolet College District recently participated in the college’s annual High School Welding Competition, starting with qualifying rounds and culminating with the finals competition in the Nicolet Welding Lab.
Preliminary rounds earlier in the year whittled the competitors to the top 24 for the finals. Top individual honors went to Josh Chitko, Laona, first place; Jordan Belland, Laona, second place; and Bradley Mihalko, Crandon, third place.
Overall team trophies went to Laona, first place; Crandon, second place; and Rhinelander, third place.
Student welders who qualified for and competed in the finals included, first row, left to right, Tom Roble, Mercer; Logan Johnson and Zach Rusch, Rhinelander; Aaron Ewert and Joe Maillette, Northland Pines; Thomas Kolling, Phelps; Cole Schroeder and Daniel Brownell, Elcho. Back row, Colby Nelson, Goodman-Armstrong Creek; Riley Hoffman, Wabeno; Bradley Mihalko, Race Stamper, Kurtis Johnson, all from Crandon; Jordan Belland, Jake Chitko, Fletcher Cleereman, and Josh Chitko, all from Laona.
Students from Tomahawk also competed in the finals but had to return to the high school before this photo was taken.
While the annual event gave more than 140 students the chance to sharpen and show off their welding skills, it also did much more, said Jeff Labs, interim dean of Trade, Industry and Apprenticeships at Nicolet.
“It also gave students the chance to explore welding as a possible career and experience what the welding program is like at Nicolet,” Labs said. “The skills training Nicolet offers is very cost effective and gives graduates the exact skills they need to start a career in welding.”