Douglas students go to auto competition

Two Douglas High School students will be using their automotive skills for the chance to win scholarships in the Nevada Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Contest at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks, May 16-17.

Last year, two Douglas students each took home $8,500 in scholarships for placing third in the competition designed to find the most talented young auto technicians and to encourage them to consider careers in the automotive industry.

Cody Crosetti, 18, and Matt Nielsen, 17, qualified for the competition by being the top scorers on the required written tests in their Auto Tech II class.

"I'm already proud of these guys," said auto tech instructor Cade Baligad. "They're already in the top 10 in state."

The state championship will be determined by the combination of a written qualifying exam and the team's ability to repair a deliberately disabled Ford Crown Victoria during a hands-on competition.

Baligad said Schell Tingley, service manager of Capital Ford in Carson City, has been very supportive of Douglas' automotive program. But Tingley couldn't find a Crown Victoria to practice on, so Baligad rented the similar Mercury Marquis for 24 hours so Crosetti and Nielsen could check it out.

The two students will work together as a team - Nielsen is noted for having good diagnostic skills.

"We'll work on any cars and on anything Baligad throws at us," said Nielsen about the strategy they've been working on in auto shop this week.

Crosetti is hoping to take first-place in the AAA competition. He is the owner of a 1990 Mustang GT and said he likes to work on engines.

"I like power," he said. "I work on the Mustang every day. Eventually it will be a lot faster."


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