UBTech sets a record at national SkillsUSA contest 

By Stephanie Carter

Uintah Basin Technical College students continue to be innovative examples of perseverance, participating in the first-ever virtual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Competition.

UBTech had a final medal count of 18 from the Utah SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills competition. UBTech students brought home nine gold medals, seven silvers, and two bronze. UBTech’s medal count tied with the much larger Utah Valley University for the highest medal count from a higher education institution.

The nine gold medalists, who competed virtually at the national competition included: Taydn Holmes in Carpentry, Scotlyn Williams in Extemporaneous Speech, Betty Allen in First Aid/CPR, Trinity Long in Job Interview, Max Christensen in Medical Math, Ivan Sheffer in Medical Terminology, Laura Anderson in Nurse Assisting, Aimee Smith in Prepared Speech, and Davis Thomas in Welding.

At the national competition, UBTech students achieved the highest medal count in UBTech history. Three students came away as national medalists. Even though they were not physically standing on a podium, they celebrated with their families and friends during watch parties, tuning in virtually to the awards ceremony.

Trinity Long, a post-secondary student, received the bronze medal in Job Interview, Davis Thomas also received a bronze medal in Welding, and Taydn Holmes brought home the gold in Carpentry.

“During the actual competition, I wasn’t nervous. I was just focused on building,” shared Holmes, “The nerves came watching the ceremony. My mom, sister, and grandparents were all with me at the watch party at UBTech for the virtual awards ceremony. When the 3rd place and 2nd place winners were announced, I thought I didn’t stand a chance because they looked older, and I thought they had more experience. When they read my name as the gold medalist, I was shocked. It is crazy to think that a small-town boy like me could achieve something like that on a national level.”

Another record UBTech students broke was the number of students who placed in the top five and top 10 in their respective categories. Aimee Smith placed 4th in Prepared Speech, Ivan Sheffer placed 5th in Medical Terminology, Tristen Boren placed 5th in Job Skill Demonstration, and Laura Anderson placed 10th in Nurse Assisting.

Betty Allen placed 11th in First Aid/CPR, and Scotlyn Williams placed 15th in Extemporaneous Speech.

“All nine state medalists who competed at nationals placed in the top 15,” said UBTech Vice President of Public Affairs & Student Advancement, Stephanie Carter, “That’s a huge accomplishment! Congratulations to our amazing students and faculty.”

“Having such a large number of students compete and place well 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.”

In 2020, Todd Bro, owner of Iowa Tank Lines, entered into a partnership with UBTech to help students with the financial costs of competing in SkillsUSA.

Although the competition was held virtually, a cost is always associated with students competing in SkillsUSA competitions. Because of the Iowa Tank Lines partnership, students were able to compete at no cost.

“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.”

UBTech Construction Instructor, Eric Christensen, pictured with UBTech student on right, Taydn Holmes, attended UBTech’s virtual watch party for the National SkillsUSA award ceremony. Tayden’s name was announced as the United States gold champion in the Construction competition.

UBTech Student, Davis Thomas (middle), pictured with his parents Tiffani and David Thomas (left) and UBTech Welding Instructor, Rick Prather (right) and his wife, Teasha, celebrated Davis Thomas’ achievement in earning a bronze medal in the Welding category for the National SkillsUSA competition.

All smiles at the UBTech watch party while participants were viewing the National SkillsUSA virtual awards ceremony. Trinity Long, UBTech student, pictured above was awarded the bronze medal in the Job Interview category for the National SkillsUSA competition.