KC students place high in state SkillsUSA

Kishwaukee College students earned several top 10 place finishes, including four students who were first-place winners, in the annual SkillsUSA Illinois State Leadership Conference and Championships held April 3 through 5 in Springfield.

The first place winners – Mike Zimbrich in Power Equipment Technology and the team of Susanna Herrmann, Penny Ingalls and Emerald Fannin in Crime Scene Investigation – will compete at the 50th National SkillsUSA Leadership Conference and Championships that will be held in Kansas City, Mo., in June.

SkillsUSA is a national, state, regional and local organization for technical, skilled, health and personal service occupations students in high school and college.  SkillsUSA has more than 300,000 members in more than 14,000 chapters in 55 state and territorial associations including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands. In Illinois, there are seven regions with 88 high school and college chapters representing 225 training sections.

Kishwaukee College students competed against community college students from across the state. In all, there were nearly 1,500 registered participants in Springfield, plus 300 business, industry, organized labor and education professionals supporting the competitors.

The students competed in a wide range of events, including Leadership Development Contests, Skilled and Technical Science Contests, Health Contests and Occupationally Related Contests. Kishwaukee College sent student competitors in several areas. 

“We took 15 students to the state competition and 11 of those students medalled, meaning they placed first, second or third in their competition, and all 15 placed in the top 10,” Greg Brink, faculty adviser to the SkillsUSA chapter at KC, said in a news release. “Plus we swept the top five places in Power Equipment Tech and the top two places in Crime Scene Investigation, which is a team competition. 

“We have four students in two fields going on to Nationals. Those four students finished first in their fields, that means they represent the top 3 percent of SkillsUSA students in the nation. We are really proud of our team,” he said in the release.

Kishwaukee College students who placed at the Illinois SkillsUSA competition were: Automotive Refinishing – Matt Falco, second place; Collision Repair – Luis Sarabia, fifth place and Jacob Hengels, sixth place; Power Equipment Technology – Mike Zimbrich, first place, Brandon Snodgrass, second place, Joshua Nuxoll, third place, Joe Gress, fourth place, and Seth Larsen, fifth place; Criminal Justice – Josh Scott, third place; and Crime Scene Investigation (team competition) – Susanna Herrmann, Penny Ingalls and Emerald Fannin, first place and Patricia Stensrud, Shenika Perkins-Halmon and Vicki Finnell, second place.

Students were recognized for their achievements at a special Awards Ceremony held April 5 in Springfield. Winners received gold, silver and bronze medallions as well as other awards – tools, equipment, prizes and scholarships – donated by education, labor and management organizations that support SkillsUSA.

For more information on SkillsUSA at Kishwaukee College, contact Greg Brink at 815-825-2086, ext. 3280, or

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