Hastings High auto students bound for nationals

Hastings High automotive students (from left) Micah Runyon, Dennis
Marr and Sam Matticks are shown in the school's auto shop on May 12
with the Nebraska State Finals trophy won by Runyon and Marr.
Matticks and Marr will compete in the Ford AAA Student Auto Skills
competition in Dearborn, Mich. next week.

A team of driven Hastings High School seniors is preparing to put its collective mechanic skills to the test against some of the best young mechanics in the country this weekend.

D.J. Marr, 18, and Samuel Matticks, 17, will lock wrenches with 52 other high school state champion teams from across the nation in the 2014 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition June 8-10 in Dearborn, Mich. Accompanied by their automotive instructor Rob Schuster, the duo’s all-expense paid trip will include stops at the Henry Ford History Museum, a tour of the Ford plant, and accommodations at The Henry luxury hotel.

Marr and classmate Micah Runyon, 18, qualified for the event April 24 by winning the state competition held at Southeast Community College in Milford. The duo bested nine other qualifying teams from across the state by successfully finding and correcting seven of 10 staged repairs in their test 2014 Ford Fiesta vehicle within the allotted 90-minute time frame. Of the 10, theirs was the lone automobile enabled to start by a team.

Unfortunately for Runyon, he will not get the opportunity to experience national competition. Enrolled in the mechanics program with the Air Force, he traveled to San Antonio today to begin basic training. Matticks will serve as his alternate.

An aspiring computer programmer, Runyon said he will be with his teammates in spirit. He’ll rely on his parents to relay word to him on how the competition plays out.

“I’m disappointed, but it (state) was really a cool life experience,” he said. “A big confidence builder.”

To read more, see Tuesday's Hastings Tribune or the Tribune e-edition.>>

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