“We prepared by studying hard every day with the book work because we had to do that to pass [regionals] to get to state. You had to take a [written] test, first [at state], and we made the highest in the state on that, and then the top ten get to go to nationals,” Arrington explained. “After that we worked on our individual trade areas, carpentry, masonry, plumbing and wiring, practicing hard with different scenarios ... that have been used before at state.”
Consisting of three juniors and a senior, the team had to construct a “man cave” this year, which included a home theater.
“They always change [the design plan]. Last year it was a laundry room, this year it was a man cave ... sometimes it’s a bathroom, but for the most part we learned the basics and then [the students] know what to do and they just have to [build it],” Arrington said.
This wasn’t the first time for the school to go to nationals. Arrington said two years ago the team made it to the top ten, placing ninth in the competition.
He said he was proud of the 2012-2013 school year’s team’s accomplishments, which only included one returning member.
“They worked so hard. The difference in the team I took this past year was they wanted it ... and they weren’t going to let working at it stop them,” Arrington said. “... An example is at the end of the last school year I was telling them we were going to need to practice at least twice a week during the summer leading up to [nationals] ... and they said ‘we want to come three days a week.’”
Christian Metroka, a current senior who competed with TeamWorks as a junior, said he enjoyed working with his classmates as a team at nationals, but he didn’t downplay the competition the team faced at nationals, which consisted of 24 other teams. As a whole, the team said they are enjoying the fruits of their labor by placing first in the competition after spending the year working on honing their skills.
“All of [the other teams] were really good and when you go out there you’re thinking [your building isn’t as good] because you’re paying attention to everyone else and you realize there’s some good people out there,” Metroka said. “[Some of the other teams] had no team effort going on, they got mad at each other ... and other teams looked at our [building] to see what we were doing.”
While students were thrown some “curveballs” at the competition and had worked all year to prepare for such an event, current senior Dylan Jones said there’s more to SkillsUSA than just strategy and elbow grease.
“My favorite part is being around friends, meeting new people and having fun at competitions,” Jones said.