- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - Two Wisconsin high school students earned the title of best student auto technicians in the nation on Tuesday.

Justin Bublitz and Colt Morris from Grafton High School were crowned the winners of the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills contest, which was held at Ford Motor Co.’s world headquarters in Dearborn.

The suburban Milwaukee boys competed against two-person teams of high school juniors and seniors. Each team represented its state during the 65th annual event.

Bublitz missed his high school graduation to be here, but he was OK with that.

“It was definitely more than worth it,” he said.

Contestants raced the clock and each other to correctly diagnose problems within a car and then provide the fix. The idea is to encourage students to continue their educations and pursue careers in the automotive service industry.

Bublitz and Morris won scholarships and will get an opportunity to shadow the pit crew of NASCAR driver Trevor Bayne later in the season.

The contest began with 13,000 competitors before it was whittled down to the 100 (50 state-champion teams) who made it to Dearborn.

Bublitz and Morris earned a “perfect car” score by flawlessly repairing all the “bugs” without any demerits. Students were graded on quality repair, workmanship and safety. Combined with the results of a written exam taken on Monday, their score earned them the overall victory.

“Oh man, we made it,” Morris said. “It’s an awesome feeling. Actually, awesome doesn’t even begin to cover it. All the hard work has paid off.”

An Oklahoma team from the Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center in Choctaw finished second. The third-place team was from Portland Arts and Technology High School in Maine.

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