Blackfoot students capture Ford/AAA state championship

The Blackfoot High School auto technology team of Morgan Gasca and Dakota Cervenak won the state Ford//AAA Student Auto Skills competition Friday in Boise.
"We're really excited to win," said Gasca. "It was lots of fun and definitely the most stressful competition I've had this year.
"What I learned is if you're not sure about a hunch, take a step back to see if there is another possibility," Gasca said.
"What I learned is if you need to fix something this is light-sensitive, do it inside," said Cervenak. "It was a fun competition that was definitely hard.
"We needed to think of different ways of doing things," he said. "It was a team effort."
Besides scholarships from different universities and colleges, Gasca and Cervenak each won $500 cash from AAA Idaho that is to be used for their education.
"It was a nail-biting competition," said BHS auto tech advisor Dallen Worthington. "The past auto technology teacher Kerry Phelps helped us."
"We thank 20th Century Ford in Blackfoot for use of the 2012 Ford Mustang so the kids could practice," Worthington said.
This is the sixth win in six years for the BHS auto tech teams. Being the top auto tech team in the state earned this pair a trip to the Ford/AAA national competition June 12—14 in Dearborn, Mich.
Students can only compete one time in this state competition during their high school careers.
Twenty competitors from 10 high schools in the state put their skills to the test in the 90-minute competition Friday morning.
"It was a close competition between the top three teams," said Dave Carlson, Director of Public & Government Affairs with AAA Idaho.
First place went to BHS students Gasca and Cervenak who finished their car in 85 minutes, 58 seconds with 0 demerits—a perfect car. The pair won scholarships totaling $37,500 each.
Meridian High School students Nate Learned and Torry Baker claimed second place3. They, too, completed a perfect car with 0 demerits. Their time was 84 minutes, 52 seconds. They each won scholarships totaling $18,000.
Third place went to EITC Idaho Falls students Mikyle Kay and Zakk Pedersen who finished their car in 87 minutes, 52 seconds with 4 demerits.
To compete in the contest, each competitor was required to take a written test in February.
The test totals were converted to time and applied to the final competition, Carlson said.
The 10 Idaho teams earned scholarships and prizes totaling $176,500.