DCTC Wins Four Medals at SkillsUSA Nationals

DCTC at SkillsUSA Nationals

Nine students place in top 10

Ten students represented Dakota County Technical College in nine competitions at the 50th Annual SkillsUSA National Championships June 23–27, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo., taking home four medals. Nine students placed in the top 10.

Elise Groenewold

Elise Groenewold

Brian Warzeha, a student in the college’s Electrical Construction and Maintenance Technology program, won a silver medal in Related Technical Math. Richard Frascone, an a student in the Automotive Technician program, and Elise Groenewold, a student in the Auto Body Collision Technology program, won bronze medals in two of the most competitive events at the championships, Automotive Service Technology and Collision Repair Technology. Groenewold was the first woman to ever break the top three in Collision Repair Technology. Margaret Speikers, a student in the Medical Assistant program, won a bronze medal in Medical Terminology. Rhonda Galloway, a student in the Photography program, received Best in Show for her work in the Photography competition.

Michael Crider, student life assistant, Dawn Braa, early childhood and youth development instructor, Darrell Tangen, photography instructor, Jeff Copeland, automotive technician instructor, and Gerry Rainford, auto body collision technology instructor, attended the nationals as SkillsUSA advisors. Numerous other DCTC faculty and staff helped prepare students for their competitions or provided support from home.

Brian Warzeha (first on right)

Brian Warzeha (first on right)

Richard Franscone (second from left)

Richard Franscone (second from left)

Elise Groenewold (second from left)

Elise Groenewold (second from left)

Margaret Speikers (second from left)

Margaret Speikers (second from left)

DCTC competitors at SkillsUSA National Championships

  • Brian Warzeha
    • Related Technical Math
    • Silver medal
  • Richard Frascone
    • Automotive Service Technology
    • Bronze medal
  • Elise Groenewold
    • Collision Repair Technology
    • Bronze medal
  • Margaret Speikers
    • Medical Terminology
    • Bronze medal
  • Rhonda Galloway, Best in Show, Photography

    Rhonda Galloway, Best in Show, Photography

    Maria Barrick

    • Early Childhood
    • 5th Place
  • Clay Carlson
    • 3D Visualization & Animation (team)
    • 9th Place
  • Tim Fink
    • 3D Visualization & Animation (team)
    • 9th place
  • Rhonda Galloway
    • Photography
    • 9th place
  • Joyce Mallery
    • Customer Service
    • 10th place
  • Delbert (Floyd) Annis
    • Prepared Speech
    • 16th place
SkillsUSA Championships

The SkillsUSA Championships showcase the best career and technical students in the nation. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels.

The multimillion-dollar national event occupies a space equivalent to 16 football fields. In 2013, nearly 6,000 contestants participated in 98 separate events. Approximately 1,500 judges and contest organizers from labor and management make the national event possible.

The philosophy of the SkillsUSA Championships is centered on:

  • Rewarding students for excellence
  • Directly involving industry in evaluating student performance
  • Keeping training relevant to employer needs

— Courtesy of the SkillsUSA website

For more information about SkillsUSA at DCTC, contact:
  • Anna Voight
    Assistant Director of Student Life

General Motors Invests in DCTC

GM ASEP receives donated 2013 Chevrolet Silverado

GM ASEP donated 2013 Chevrolet Silverado

General Motors, one of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers, donated a vehicle to Dakota County Technical College for use in the GM Automotive Service Educational Program, or GM ASEP. The 2013 Chevrolet Silverado will be used to train aspiring technicians enrolled in the program.

“We are proud to support training programs that prepare the next generation of automotive technicians,” said Rick Jackson, manager for GM ASEP. “Our commitment to our customers goes well beyond building a quality product. Our dedication to excellence starts at the training level by partnering with schools in communities around the globe to share our collective passion for the automotive industry and educate, inspire and motivate the technicians of tomorrow.”

“DCTC plays an important role in helping the auto industry fill a critical need: developing and retaining skilled automotive technicians,” said Mark Hickman, a GM ASEP instructor at the college. “This generous donation from GM enables us to deliver the highest quality education to our students.”

“Automotive technicians are in high demand in today’s marketplace,” said Diana Sancya, manager for GM Service Technical College. “Through the GM donation program, we have a significant opportunity to ensure that GM dealers can employ the best trained technicians possible.”

“The availability of qualified, trained automotive technicians is and will continue to be a critical area of importance for GM,” said Chris Wallace, technical training integration manager at GM. “Vehicle donations to support technician training programs are pivotal to address the growing need for technicians at our dealerships across the country.”



Since 1979, GM’s continued commitment to identify and support the GM ASEP colleges and universities has produced more than 16,000 service technicians. GM ASEP incorporates advanced automotive technical training with a strong academic foundation of math, reading, and electronics, and both analytical and technical skills. Students can earn an associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree while working and learning on the job, resulting in a solid education combined with invaluable work experience.

For more information about GM ASEP at DCTC, contact:

SkillsUSA Nationals Underway

Ten DCTC students competing in Kansas City, Mo.

DCTC at SkillsUSA Nationals

The 50th Annual SkillsUSA National Championships have started in Kansas City, Mo. Ten students are representing Dakota County Technical College in nine competitions.

DCTC students competing at SkillsUSA Nationals

DCTC Students competing at SkillsUSA Nationals

50th Annual SkillsUSA National Championships

For more information about DCTC students at the SkillsUSA Nationals, contact:
  • Anna Voight
    Assistant Director of Student Life

Mark Obarski Hired as Women’s Soccer Coach

Former Eagan High School girls soccer coach to lead Blue Knights

Mark Obarski

Dakota County Technical College has hired Mark Obarski, former head coach of girls soccer at Eagan High School in Eagan, Minn., as head coach of the Blue Knights women’s soccer team. Obarski will succeed Cam Stoltz as only the second coach in the program’s history. Stoltz started the program in 2003, serving as head coach for 11 seasons. He will continue to lead the men’s soccer program while serving as DCTC athletic coordinator.

Obarski brings ample soccer success and experience to DCTC, having been with the Eagan High girls soccer program for 19 years, the last 14 as head coach. Named state coach of the year twice and section coach of the year four times by the Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaches Association, Obarski served as MSHSSCA president for two years and has been involved with the MSHSSCA Board for several years. As head coach at Eagan, he compiled a record of 192–67–25.

“Cam has developed an outstanding program,” Obarski said. “It’s an honor to step in and continue that tradition. Coaching at DCTC is a tremendous opportunity that will be both a lot of hard work and a lot of fun.”

With extensive experience both as a coach and director of coaching at the Valley United and Eagan soccer clubs, Obarski has worked with a variety of age groups in youth soccer. He has a United Stated Soccer Federation “C” license.

“I can’t think of a better way to transition this program to a higher level,” Cam Stoltz said. “Mark has the perfect blend of expertise, leadership and knowledge of the recruiting market, especially in the soccer-rich south metro area. He is also well versed in soccer success. Mark is an educator first with coaching soccer a close second.”

A long-time resident of Apple Valley, Minn., Obarski grew up playing soccer at Apple Valley High School as well as with the Valley United Soccer Club. He played collegiate soccer for Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz. This fall, he will be entering his 20th year as a teacher at Eagan High School. Obarski and his wife, Barb, have five children; all played soccer growing up in Apple Valley. Their daughter, Kelly, played soccer for the Blue Knights during the 2010–11 season.

Mark Obarski will begin his head coaching duties at DCTC July 1, 2014. He will be taking over a program that former coach, Cam Stoltz, provided with a sound foundation. In 11 seasons, the Blue Knights put together a 107–95–12 overall record that includes an NJCAA Region 13 championship (2003), two NJCAA Region 11 runner-up finishes (2009 and 2010), three NJCAA All-Americans and five NJCAA Academic All-Americans. Stoltz was twice recognized as NJCAA Region Coach of the Year, once for Region 13 in 2003 and once for Region 11 in 2009.

Obarski is excited about the future of Blue Knights soccer. “I’m looking forward to the challenges of recruiting and getting used to coaching at the collegiate level,” he said. “Our goal is to establish a nationally recognized women’s soccer program.”

To learn more about soccer at DCTC, visit GoBlueKnights.com. You can also read “Eleven Stars for 11 Years” in Real Magazine for a historic view of the women’s soccer program.
For more information about Blue Knights athletics, contact:
  • Cam Stoltz
    Athletic Coordinator
    Men’s Soccer Head Coach

Softball Player Makes DCTC History

Amanda Orrell named Blue Knights first softball All-American


Sophomore Amanda Orrell, an outfielder on the Blue Knights fastpitch softball team at Dakota County Technical College, was named a 2014 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Second Team All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Orrell is a 2012 graduate of Pioneer Valley High School in Santa Maria, Calif., and led the Blue Knights with a .531 batting average and .609 on-base average.

Head Coach Tom Cross (left) and Amanda Orrell (center) during 2013-2014 season.

Head Coach Tom Cross (left) and Amanda Orrell (center) during 2013-2014 season.

Blue Knights Fastpitch Softball Head Coach Tom Cross reported that Orrell is the first All-American in the history of the fastpitch softball program at DCTC and only the eighth All-American to come out of the college’s six athletics programs.

“Being named to the All-American Second Team by the NFCA is a very prestigious honor,” said Cross. “Amanda has been a steadfast member of our softball program’s rise at DCTC and in the region. There are about two thousand players at the NJCAA Division II two-year college level—and we had one of the best.”

Cross explained that Orrell started last season driving the ball and hitting with power. “In my opinion, Amanda was the best leadoff hitter in the country,” he said. “She raised havoc on the bases from the very beginning.”

amanda-orrellThe Blue Knights fastpitch softball team just completed their second season at DII. They won the regional championship in 2013 and finished as runner-up in May 2014. Read more about the team’s success in the Real Magazine article Softball Posts 2nd Consecutive 21-Win Season.

In fall 2014, Amanda Orrell is transferring to Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., and will play softball for the Pipers.

For more information about Blue Knights fastpitch softball at Dakota County Technical College, contact:
  • Tom Cross
    Fastpitch Softball Head Coach
DCTC Blue Knights Fastpitch Softball Team 2013-2014

DCTC Blue Knights Fastpitch Softball Team 2013-2014