April 03, 2013 - Not even brakes can slow down Oxford High School's agile auto students.
Three two-student teams placed in the OHS auto programís annual brake competition this year. They were (from left) John Boyle and James McCormick (first place), Noah Walsh and Shane Treppa (third place), and Chad Simmers and Gordon Denzler (second place). (click for larger version)
Last week, 26 future mechanics participated in the automotive program's annual brake competition.
Two-person teams went head-to-head to see who could completely disassemble and reassemble a drum brake assembly on two different vehicles in the least amount of time. A total of six vehicles were used.
All of the work had to be done as quickly and accurately as possible. Errors in craftsmanship can disqualify a team's time. Teams could be timed as many times as they wished during the hour-and-a-half competition.
Earning first place in this year's competition were James McCormick and John Boyle. They won with a combined time of 4 minutes, 34 seconds.
McCormick brought in his own Jeep Wrangler for the competition, which was allowed because he made it accessible to everyone before and during the contest.
"I couldn't resist teasing him about it," said auto teacher Dan Balsley. "I told him, as he came up to claim his awards, that you have to keep an eye on someone who brings their own vehicle."
Chad Simmers and Gordon Denzler finished in second place with a combined time of 8 minutes, 56 seconds.
In third place, with a combined time of 10 minutes, 14 seconds, were Noah Walsh and Shane Treppa.
These six students earned a whole array of prizes ranging from a $100 savings bond to a wide variety of brand new tools.
Sponsors included the Rotary Club of Oxford, Steve's Oxford Automotive, Oxford Bank, Wright Tool and the Oxford McDonald's restaurant.
Balsley started the competition years ago as a fun, motivational tool to encourage students to learn the ins and outs of brakes, which can often be difficult and messy work.
"This was one of the most enjoyable brake competitions we've had," he said. "I think it was mostly due to the good nature of the students participating. They helped out with the preparation of the event, cleaning and decorating (the shop) a day ahead of time."
Balsley was grateful to all those who helped out by timing the students. They included Katie Goetz, Richard Nicks, Dave Brown, Gary Chapman, Steve Rea, Tom Courneya and Jarrod Herrmann, a 2001 OHS graduate.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.