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National competition tough one for OHS auto students

Mike Doell (left) and Josh English pose in the 2013 Ford Explorer they repaired for a national competition June 11. (click for larger version)
June 12, 2013 - Mike Doell and Josh English didn't do as well as they had hoped in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills national competition held in Dearborn June 11, but they certainly gave it their all.

Given the 2013 Oxford High School graduates faced 49 other state championship teams, plus a difficult set of challenges, OHS auto instructor Dan Balsley was very proud of their efforts.

"Really, they did pretty well," he said.

Doell and English, who represented Michigan, placed 24th in the hands-on competition and tied for sixth place in the written examination.

For the hands-on portion, the duo was given 90 minutes to successfully diagnose and repair approximately 10 electrical and mechanical bugs (i.e. defects) deliberately placed in a 2013 Ford Explorer.

Balsley said these were some "very difficult" bugs.

"Out of 50 cars, there were only five clean ones," he said. "It was a very difficult competition."

A "clean car" is one in which all the defects have been discovered and repaired by contestants.

Balsley talked with one of the people who helped bug the cars and that person told him, "We should feel good about the way we placed."

"That was encouraging," he said.

Doell and English finished their vehicle in 70 minutes.

They knew they had missed one bug, but they decided to "let the chips fall where they may," as Balsley put it, and take their car into judging to get credit for the repairs they had made.

Ultimately, they missed two defects.

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.
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