Ridgewater College automotive technology student headed to national SkillsUSA contest – West Central Tribune


— Ridgewater College is sending one of its automotive technology students to Atlanta, Georgia, this June to compete in the national SkillsUSA contest after she earned gold at the state level.


Ridgewater’s Karina Rice, of Willmar, is heading to the national SkillsUSA contest after earning gold in the automotive technology event at the state competition.

Contributed / Ridgewater College

According to a news release, second-year automotive technology student Karina Rice, of Willmar, took first place in the automotive technology event in the annual Minnesota SkillsUSA competition held April 12 and 13 at St. Cloud Technical College. The challenge included 13 students competing at 13 automotive repair stations.

Her classmate Samuel Timmer, of Prinsburg, brought home silver as a first-year post-secondary options enrollment student.

“Karina is graduating this semester and has worked very hard to take advantage of all the opportunities to learn about the automotive systems covered at Ridgewater,” said Jonathan Friton,


automotive technology instructor, in the release.

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


Ridgewater College welding fabrication students Cole Lindberg, of Kimball, from left, Jake Hiles, of Winthrop, and Gibson Kirkvliet, of Lester Prairie, earned gold in the high school division in the Minnesota SkillsUSA competition held April 12-13, 2024, at St. Cloud Technical College.

Contributed / Ridgewater College

Ridgewater College students from four technical colleges came home with five champions and five runners-up, including a first-place finish for the high school fabrication team composed of Gibson Kirkvliet, of Lester Prairie; Jake Hiles, of Winthrop; and Cole Lindberg, of Kimball.

In the college fabrication division, teammates Dominic Garcia, of Hutchinson, Gage Dyre, of Hutchinson, and Kellan Stevens Aldrich, of Buffalo, took home second place.

Additional placings are as follows:

  • Auto Body Collision Repair — Refinishing: Cody Nadgwick, of Kensington, second; Cody Sievert, of Gibbon, third
  • Auto Body Collision Repair — Collision: Justin Jaeger, Hutchinson, third
  • Welding — College Individual Welders: Cody Simon, Norwood, fourth; Lexi Karnes, Buffalo, seventh; Joe Roepke, of Arlington, 13th
  • Welding — High School (PSEO) Individual Welders: Kaden Otto, of Lester Prairie, fourth; Brody Nathe, of Annandale, sixth; Aloysha Frick, of Brownton, seventh
  • Agriculture Equipment Mechanic — Diesel Equipment: Nic Walstrom, of Belgrade, 35th; Connor Danielson, of Atwater, 45th.
West Central Tribune staff report

West Central Tribune staff report
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