Bothell High revs into first place in Washington State Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition state finals

From left to right, Travis Kiser (Ford Motor Company), team Bothell
From left to right, Travis Kiser (Ford Motor Company), team Bothell's Jacob Kallinen and Roman Wagner, Pat McCue (Bothell instructor) and John Milbrath (AAA Washington, vice president of Member Services).
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Just like Inglemoor and Bothell prep football coaches Frank Naish and Tom Bainter assess their teams after games, local automotive instructor Pat McCue goes for it after his squad recently won the state title.

Roman Wagner from Inglemoor High led the way with the internal work and starting the car, in which they diagnosed and repaired intentionally installed “bugs” in 54 minutes to take the top prize at Renton Technical College last month.

Jacob Kallinen of Bothell High was a meticulous hard-worker who worked on the external components — power door locks, lights and more — during the final.

“It was pretty impressive, and it was kind of nail-biting,” McCue said of the final. Bothell was the second team to get its car started and out on the road test, but the first squad didn’t locate all 10 “bugs.” Team Bothell did and took the title.

“We had a perfect car,” said McCue, noting that his 2007 team’s car was flawless in the final, as well.

McCue has trained students in Bothell’s automotive course since 2003 and also helped one team win a state title in 2007 and send the boys to nationals, which this year will take place June 10-12 at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.

Kallinen and Wagner each earned more than $42,000 in scholarships after competing in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills state finals on April 24.

At nationals, they’ll compete against teams from 50 other states for additional scholarships, prizes and an opportunity to job shadow Wood Brothers Racing at Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

Kallinen, who works at Firestone in Woodinville, said he and Wagner were committed to performing well at state and spent several hours a day training with McCue on their spring break to prepare for the event. Kallinen added that the scholarship money up for grabs was an incentive to win, as well.

According to Kallinen’s grandmother, Nancy, her father, Vic Shellito, was a car enthusiast and mechanic in Bothell many years ago.

“It’s kind of fun to see it come full circle,” she said.

Added Jacob: “Seeing that my great-grandfather was sort of a car freak, he brought my father and uncle into the shop and they just kind of brought me into the whole thing. Being in that environment all the time kind of pushed me into this industry.”

Wagner is an Automotive Youth Educational Systems intern at Bickford Ford in Snohomish, which provided the team a 2012 Ford Fusion and diagnostic scanning tool to practice on heading into the final.

He said they were nervous, but confident at the same time at state since the teammates were so well-prepared. A top-three finish was Wagner’s goal, but No. 1 will do, he said with a chuckle.

Career-wise, Wagner can see himself continuing to work in the auto-services industry in a dealership setting.

“I really enjoy the troubleshooting end of it,” he said.

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