Panola hosts high school welding competition

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Texas and Louisiana high school welding students competed at Panola College on Thursday, Feb. 7. Of the 56 welders competing, three of the top five winners were from Louisiana. Tim Singletary, Panola College welding instructor, said this was one of the largest group to attend the annual competition.

He praised the high school welding instructors for their efforts and dedication to ensure their students understand the real-world expectations, and to make sure their training meets certification standards.

“We really appreciate Trinity Rail for sending Jaime Castaneda, Rogelio G. Gomez and Erick Garcia to serve as judges this year. We agreed that this was one of the best competitions we’ve ever had,” Singletary said. “To pick the winners, the judges looked for a uniform bead, a good weld profile, and a smooth tie-in, among other criteria.”

Singletary said having industry representatives as judges provides the students with an understanding of the importance of industry expectations for performance, knowledge and skills. “Now is a great time to train for the welding profession from an economic standpoint,” Singletary added.

Finishing first was Luke Vezquez, Logansport, La.; second: Brayden Meshell, Many, La.; third: Trindy Ashmore, Burkeville; fourth: Brody Simmons, Burkeville; and fifth, Kylar Tedder, Many, La.

Prize sponsors were Ron Yandell from Matheson Tri Gas; Ron Reed from Red Ball Oxygen, Johnny Harvill from Lincoln Electric, and Keith Coleman from TDY Blacksmith. Winners were awarded a variety of personal protective gear that adds to their professional equipment to prepare them for the workforce.

From fifth place down, students finished as follows: Norman Sepulvado, Zwolle; Justin Hutchinson, Carthage; Kalob Waldrop, Ebarb; Gen Maxie, Many; Jacobo Rafael, Center; Devon Lakey, Burkeville; Eddy Lazaro, Tenaha; London Andrews, Carthage; Caleb Leach, Many; Colton Day, Burkeville; Christopher Ammons, Zwolle; Drew Fountain, Zwolle; Clayton Anderson, Carthage; Jack Mehell, Ebarb; Josh Evans, Stanley; Riley Britt, Zwolle; Logan Stripling, Douglass; Garrett Hooker, Carthage; Jordan Russell, Carthage; Bryan Cruz, Waxahachie; Trent Schroer, Douglass; Caid Hartless, Carthage; Christian Castillo, Tenaha; Felix Reina, Waxahachie; Cristian Marquez, Waxahachie; Alan Mercer, Center; Jackson Cater, Joaquin; Johnny Martinez, Waxahachie; Jonathan Gomez, Center; Devon Walters, Joaquin; Braeden Simpson, North Desoto; Hunter Sepulvado, Logansport; Chaseton Rutan, Ebarb; Kolby Stewart, Ebarb; John Meshall, Ebarb; Jesus Farias, Joaquin; Alan Trejo, Joaquin; and Ron Clemence, Ebarb.

See more photos in the 2019 Panola College Welding Contest Photo Gallery.


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