They came. They tinkered with video recorders, installed an electrical system and made a body corsage.

Three Carroll County Career andTechnology students garnered medals, including one gold, in the national Vocational Industrial Clubs of America Leadership Conference andSkill Olympics at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center here.

In addition, the school's five-member health-occupations knowledge bowl team placed second, winning a silver medal, in a quiz contest involving questions about health-related issues and current events.

Jesse Wyatt, a North Carroll High School graduate, won a gold medalin residential wiring. Jesse, the 17-year-old son of Herb and Patricia Wyatt of Hampstead, earned a bronze medal last year.

"I'm blownout of my mind," Wyatt said. "I thought I did better last year. I really didn't know whether I was going to place or not."

Nikki Hahn,17, a North Carroll High junior, was awarded a silver medal after demonstrating how to make a corsage in a job-skills contest. The daughter of Janice Hahn of Manchester won a runoff earlier in the week to advance to a final competition Friday morning.

Robert Clark won a bronze medal in electronic product servicing. The Westminster High graduate, 18, is the son of Bruce and Jeanne Clark of Westminster.

The eight winners were among the 20 Carroll County students who competed in the event, which involved more than 3,000 contestants from vocational education programs across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Carroll students also vied for medals in cosmetology, brick masonry, collision repair technology, residential plumbing and custodial services, among others, after winning first place at the state level.

The contests are run, supported and judged by representativesfrom business and industry, which spend about $7 million in machinery and equipment donations, services and prizes on the contest's main day.

First-, second- and third-place winners were offered a cornucopia of prizes in most contests. In automotive service technology, for example, first prize included a rollaway tool cabinet from Snap-On Tools Inc. and a variety of tools. Others prizes included scholarships to skill-related institutes and colleges.

For both winners and losers, the contest tested the skills of the students, all of whom have either graduated from the Carroll County Career and Technology Center's two-year programs or are entering their final year.

Charles Harrison, for instance, was given instructions to build a brick wall. The mortar was mixed and brought to him. The red bricks and the cinder blocks were at each individual station.

Around the Liberty High School graduate, the son of George and Edna Harrison of Sykesville, asea of white uniforms was building similar walls, using the cinder blocks for the inside wall and red bricks for the outside facade.

In another auditorium, Benjamin Eyster, a Liberty High School junior, installed waste drains and vents, waterlines and fixtures for a three-piece bathroom with toilet, sink and shower.

"This is a great learning year for him," said his instructor, David Brumit, observing thecontest outside the roped-off contest area. "He'll be ready to roll next year."

The 16-year-old son of Harry and Michelle Eyster of Sykesville predicted he would finish in the Top 10.

Ray Whittington,a Francis Scott Key High graduate and the son of Ray and Nancy Whittington of New Windsor, moved from station to station in the collisionrepair technology contest, welding, straightening fenders and, finally, conducting a damage analysis of the frame of a 1991 car wrecked in an accident.

"His welding was always excellent," said William Weller, his instructor. "We trained for this so he should be fine."

After finishing in the custodial services contest, which involved sweeping, mopping and cleaning windows, North Carroll High graduate James Brandenburg speculated his chances for placing were minimal.

"I don't think I did too great," said the 18-year-old son of David and Doris Brandenburg of Hampstead.

Other students who did not place were Kevin Lentzner, the son of Steve and Charlene Lentzner of Westminster, who competed in automotive services technology; Michael Myers, the son of Michael and Cindy Myers, diesel equipment technology; and Scott Shipley, the son of Raymond and Brenda Shipley of Westminster, motorcycle service technology.

Sharon Stull, the daughter of Arlo and Shirley Stull of Silver Run, and Tina Fick, daughter of Tom and Edith Fick of Westminster, did not win medals in cosmetology.

Although the students who competed in the industrial and cosmetology contests did not know results until Friday evening, some who competed in other categories, including Staci Ridgely and Chasity Whitt, knew theirfates early.

Staci, 16, a Westminster High School junior, gave anextemporaneous speech but failed to make the final 10 for a runoff Friday. As student president of the state VICA, the daughter of Bob and Arlene Ridgely of Westminster kept herself busy afterward with other duties.

Chasity, 16, the daughter of Sylvia Beall of New Windsor, demonstrated a manicure preparation -- giving her best time yet in a job-skill demonstration, though she failed to make the final 10.

Judy Henderson, a 43-year-old nursing graduate, performed a job-skill demonstration in insulin injection in the post-secondary division, competing against students who performed a variety of skills, some unrelated to the health-care profession.

Prior to the announcement of their win, members of the Health Occupations Knowledge Bowl were mulling over three questions they missed during their contest, similar to college academic quiz bowl.

One of the questions the group stumbled on was: "Which city is thinking about changing its name to St. Petersburg?"

Other bowl members were Kathleen Winters, a post-secondary student from Taneytown; Amy Coates, the daughter of John and Rita Greshan of Sykesville; Stacy Davidson, the daughter of Marion and Diane Davidson of Westminster; Vicki Lowe, the daughter of Frank and Frances Lowe of Westminster.

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