PITTSBURG — Skills, determination and speed earned a local student a gold medal at the SkillsUSA National Competition in construction.

Once summer started, Fort Scott Community College Construction Trades Student Dylan Giager began preparing for the SkillsUSA national competition.

He said he and other students would work through the mornings and into the afternoon on previous projects to practice constructing before the big day.  

“Hard work and dedication pays off,” Giager said. “We practiced really hard, I really wanted to win — I was dedicated to do so.”

FSCC Carpentry Instructor Kim Coates said he wasn’t worried about Giager’s skills, but was worried about speed — although he did well at state, nationals takes it all to another level.

“I have never seen a student work so hard at getting better,” he said.

A couple days before the event, each competitor had 30 minutes to take a look at the building plans.

When reviewing the plans, Giager noticed something odd about the dimensions of part of the project specifications.  

“The length it needed to be at it was the wrong height,” he said. “I figured it out — I’m lucky I caught it.”
Coates said the competition was won right in the hotel room, before it even started — when Giager figured out the dimension issue.

“They have to know what to do before they take off,” Coates said.

The competitors had from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to complete the construction of their projects.  

Giager said he completed his project two hours ahead of the next college-aged competitor.

“He was driven,” Coates said. “He knew exactly what he wanted.”

Giager won tools, a $500 Carhartt gift certificate and scholarships — along with bringing home a gold medal.

“I plan to go back next year,” Giager said. “I plan to win again next year, too.”

Coates said next year will be tough because FSCC will have a second championship student, High School National Championship Winner Mason Volmer.

“We will have two national champions at FSCC,” he said. “That is great, but the problem is, only one can go.”

 — Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.