CLC students compete in a national robotics competition

Christian Welton

In June of 2021, SkillsUSA – a student/teacher partnership program focused on helping students excel – held a national robotics competition called the SkillsUSA Robotics: Urban Search and Rescue Challenge – Explosive Ordnance Disposal competition.

    Four students from the CLC participated and were divided into two separate teams.

    One team included Eduardo Zarinana and Ben Otterbacher, who placed first in the state and second in the nation.  The other team included Nathan Ortiz and Jayson McGuire who finished second in the state. All four students are studying in the engineering transfer program.


Eduardo Zarinana, left, and Ben Otterbacher working on their robot, Daily Herald

Eduardo Zarinana, left, and Ben Otterbacher working on their robot, Daily Herald

“SkillsUSA focuses on students developing and showcasing skills in their fields,” said Otterbacher. “We work on lots of technical skills we pick up in the classroom.”

This was the first year CLC had a team in this competition, though there are many other fields where CLC has competed within the engineering sphere.

Eduardo Zarinana believes that this competition is able to provide experience for those

interested in pursuing engineering, 

    “SkillsUSA is a great way to get hands-on learning; it’s a great way to experiment and practice what you’re learning in your classes,” said Zarinana.

    The hands-on experience is one that many engineering students should strive for.

    Eric Anderson, CLC’s SkillsUSA coordinator, mentions all of the opportunities SkillsUSA provides through its competitions. 

    “SkillsUSA is the venue for our students to showcase the knowledge and skills we teach in the classroom,” he said. “It’s a combination of personal skills to help you grow, workplace skills to help you thrive at work, and technical skills grounded in academics.”

    It is clear to see how this SkillsUSA competition paid off for students at CLC. SkillsUSA provides a great opportunity that, hopefully, many students will take hold of in the future.