Mascenic School District

Automotive center students take sixth in national event

Mascenic Automotive Career Center students acquitted themselves well during a National Automotive Technical competition in New York last week, landing a sixth place finish out of 50 nationally-ranked teams.

Jack Buchanan, 18, of Brookline and Liam Tardif, 17, of Hollis attend Hollis-Brookline High School, but they make the trip to Mascenic daily to attend the school’s automotive program. The two qualified earlier this year for the national competition, and had been practicing on a new-model Honda for the big event.

“It was close,” said automotive instructor Vincent Fittante in an interview Thursday about the New York competition. “It wasn’t a big blowout.”

Fittante added that Tardif and Buchanan struggled a little during the portion of the exam where they had to debug their vehicle. Usually, during practice, the two are able to fix their car in about an hour. During competition, they took the full three hours allotted, said Fittante. Partly, that was due to the difficulty of the bugs, and partly a result of nerves, he said.

“When it comes down to it, you’re pitting against the best students in the country — and there are some really talented students — and we’re going head to head against these kids,” Fittante said. “You’re going to have to deal with nerves.”

Fittante expressed pride in how well the team had performed under that pressure.

“They’re a little disappointed, but I think all in all, you have to be happy with sixth place,” he said. “Some of the states that beat us are large, and also have a lot more money to throw at automotive education than we do. For a small town like New Ipswich to be competitive and in the top 10 in the country, you know we’re doing something right. And on any given day, it could have been different and we could have been on top.”

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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