GRAFTON – The Grafton Auto Hawks have done it again, as Grafton High School automotive competitors Owen Pryga and Clayton Kleckner have taken first place in the annual Technicians of Tomorrow competition.
The Technicians of Tomorrow competition is held each year by the Automobile Dealers Association of Mega Milwaukee, or ADAMM, as part of the Greater Milwaukee International Car and Truck show that occurred last week. Pryga and Kleckner beat out area teams from Franklin, Oak Creek, Waukesha, West Bend and Lake Geneva to become the 10th Grafton team in a row to win the contest.
“It comes down to the kids,” Grafton High School Auto Service Tech teacher Nic Fullington said. “We (at GHS) wouldn’t be successful if the kids didn’t show up and want to learn.”
In this year’s ADAMM competition, Pryga and Kleckner worked on a 2022 Toyota Corolla hatchback. In that stage of the competition, competitors must work on a “bugged” car, in which problems are intentionally placed or created throughout various systems of the vehicle. Students have one hour to discover and repair the bugs.
“They got the car started in six minutes,” Fullington said.
In practice, during the months leading up to the Technicians of Tommorow event, Pryga and Kleckner worked with Senior Master Tech Jose Serna of Heiser Toyota. Fullington said Kleckner and Pryga only got to practice with a 2022 Toyota Corolla hatchback twice, due to the recent vehicle shortages, but Serna worked with the team regularly.
“Jose for sure gets a major round of applause,” Fullington said.
The other stage of the competition, beyond the full vehicle workup, was work stations in which Pryga and Kleckner had to perform in six different areas of the automotive industry. Fullington said they competed at station for electrical board, soldering, HVAC systems, steering and suspension, tire balancing and interviewing.
For their first-place victory, Pryga and Kleckner each won a scholarship through the Wisconsin Automotive Truck Dealers Association and a Snap-on tool package valued at $7,000.
Pryga and Kleckner qualified for the Technicians of Tomorrow competition at the end of last year; in November and December, more than 100 automotive students from high schools in southeastern Wisconsin took ASE Student Certification Tests.
“Clayton and Owen both scored high on the written qualification exam back in December, giving Grafton the highest team test score among all students who took the qualification test,” Fullington said.
Normally, winning the ADAMM competition would secure the team a spot at the national competition in New York, through the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association. This year, however, the national competition has been cancelled for a lack of vehicles.
Fullington said GNYADA announced the cancellation about a month ago, because they only had about 14 cars and it was not enough for the competition.
“They would have done well at New York,” Fullington said of Kleckner and Pryga.
Kleckner works as an apprentice automotive technician at Schmit Bros. Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram in Saukville. Fullington said he will be attending MATC next year in the Dodge automotive program.
Pryga is employed at his family owned body shop, and plans to attend University of Wisconsin – Stout for computer science.
Auto Hawks teams from Grafton High School have taken first place in the ADAMM 21 out of the last 29 years.