Almost 400 students from 12 area high schools participated in the ninth annual Xtreme Challenge on the campus of Seward County Community College/Area Technical School April 2.
Elkhart High School repeated as the Overall Award winner for the school earning the most points in all challenges, and defended its possession of the traveling trophy they claimed at last year’s Xtreme Challenge.

Meade High School was second in overall points and Rolla High School was third, placings reminiscent of 2013. Other high schools involved in the competitions included Liberal, Hugoton, Garden City, Moscow, and Sublette, plus Tyrone, Okla.; Turpin, Okla.; Keyes, Okla.; and Balko, Okla.
Terri Houtz, a teacher from Elkhart, said it was an honor to win. “We were excited to get to bring so many kids,” she said. Elkhart High School had 80 students at the competition. Houtz said her favorite part is that the students get to actually visit the college.
SCCC/ATS accounting instructor Tanya Dowell was the organizer of the 2014 contest. She said she was pleased by how much the attending high school participants seemed to enjoy the event Wednesday. “I did try to get around and speak to all of the sponsors between activities, and I was encouraged,” Dowell said. “They all talked about how much they enjoy this.”
The Meade High School representatives showed they had been thinking about the competition in advance and came prepared, wearing T-shirts that read, “Meade takes it to the XTREME.” The Meade students made a strong showing, placing second in overall points. In addition, six MHS students earned individual prizes for placing as academic award winners.
Dowell noted the continued participation by college programs and how once program leaders get involved in Xtreme Challenge, they tend to stay on board. Multiple college disciplines or programs participate in the individual challenges, which combine for 16 overall categories. This year Process Technology added an individual challenge.
“I do think that overall as a campus we definitely enjoy this day. Everyone continues from year to year; no one drops out,” Dowell said. “As a campus-wide activity, we have continued participation.”
Dowell said her committee was helpful in organizing the 2014 event, and cited agriculture instructor Teddi Winslow and criminal justice instructor Cristy Mulanax as two valuable assistants. Mulanax helped with registration as a new online registration was implemented. “We feel that was really successful,” Dowell said.
Computer Information Systems instructor Mindy Holder serves as the social media administrator for the Xtreme Challenge.
The admissions team also helped a great deal, Dowell said. They gave campus tours and provided a fun break for students with a game called the Angry Bird Challenge. SCCC/ATS student ambassadors helped with the events of the day.
College students involved in clubs or programs at SCCC/ATS joined instructors and staff to manage the many campus activities for the visiting high school students.
Elkhart High School senior Kacee Hoskinson said she has attended the Xtreme Challenge event all four of her high school years. “Other than the fact of getting to meet new people, it’s a great way to have people show their abilities,” Hoskinson said. “It’s a good opportunity.”
Hoskinson has seen her school claim dominance throughout her high school career. In fact, EHS won the Overall Award outright in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and now 2014. Elkhart tied with Rolla for the award in 2009. Rolla won in 2008 and Liberal in 2007.
Crusader student journalists recorded many of the activities of the day and photos are posted on Instructional designer Jay Castor prepared a slideshow of Xtreme Challenge photos for the students to enjoy just prior to the awards ceremony.
At the awards assembly, KSCB sports announcer and Xtreme Challenge emcee Brock Kappelmann announced the top three winners in each academic area. The Seward student who designed the 2014 Xtreme Challenge medals, Nicole Gibson, along with Miss Liberal Emily Bayouth, also a Seward student, presented Xtreme Challenge medals made by Machine Tool Technology students at the Technical School to each top three winner. Seward instructors from each area presented the winners with prizes.

• Art: First, Rebekah Warner, Elkhart; second, Yolanda Ledesma, Garden City; third, Alberto Hernandez-Martinez, Garden City.
• English: First, Kaylee Farthing, Balko; second, Nathan Dowell, Liberal; third, Grace Hollingsworth, Elkhart.
• Journalism: First, Kenzie Jones, Elkhart; second, Jessica Pinkley, Rolla; third, Victoria Fullerton, Elkhart.
• Drama: First, Cherokee McCallion, Elkhart; second, Audrey Mitchell, Elkhart; third, Logan Meek, Elkhart.
• Music: First, A.J. Madsen, Hugoton; second Anysia Limon, Liberal; and third, Rory Howard, Liberal.
• Physical education: Top Boy, Kyler Telford, Rolla; Top Girl, Natalie Thompson, Meade; Top Test, Alex Gomez, Elkhart.
• Transportation: First, Shon Villa, Elkhart; second, Dylon Wornkey, Meade; third, Blake Reimer, Meade.
• Manufacturing: First, Michael Losey, Hugoton; second, Marcus Cortez-Cruz, Rolla; third, Grant Sparkman, Elkhart.
• Welding: First, Shawn Blackburn, Keyes; second, Bryton Coen, Elkhart; third, Jaron Rusch, Rolla.
• Agriculture: First, Reed Papay, Meade; second, Coleman Kirby, Rolla; third Sydney Dougherty, Elkhart.
• Cosmetology: First, Keyah Richardson, Elkhart; second, Morgan Sanchez, Elkhart; third, Dalila Amaya, Liberal.
• Criminal justice: First, Alex Burciaga, Liberal; second, Bobby Mills, Balko; and third, Josh Eckert, Rolla.
• Business: First, Katie Murray, Rolla; second, Colten Clemans, Rolla; and tied for third, Esi Houtz, Elkhart and Mikayla Armer, Elkhart.
• Marketing and management: First, Kaleigh Barrett, Rolla; second, Mackenzie Moshier, Meade; third, Katie Weaver, Hugoton.
• Computer Information Systems: First, Dacyn Symons, Liberal; second, Aaron Babineaux, Liberal; third, Obie Telford, Rolla.
• Math and Science: First, Brendon Carter, Elkhart; second, Morgan Olvera, Meade; third, David Kurt, Hugoton.
SCCC/ATS faculty and staff who developed and managed the Xtreme Challenge competitions included Susan Copas and Dustin Farmer for art; Janice Northerns, English; Anita Reed, journalism; Gloria Goodwin, drama; Magda Silva, music; Alli Lyon and Liz Nosbisch, physical education; Joe Aranki, automotive, David Hormig and Greg Unger, diesel, for the transportation category; Steve Merz, drafting, Harold Fick, Process Technology, and Butch Garst, Machine Tool Technology, for the manufacturing category; Roy Hamey, welding; Sam Rucker, Teddi Winslow, Chris Guyer and Erin Russell, agriculture; Denice Paden and Sheila Scheib, cosmetology; Cristy Mulanax, criminal justice; Hiran Gunasekara, business; Kim Zant, marketing management; and Mindy Holder and Rusty Tuman, Computer Information Systems. Luke Dowell, Brad Kearn, Bonnie Merrihew, and Heather Hannah helped with the math challenge, Darrin Hook and William Bryan, science, and Don Hayes, model challenge, all in the math and science category.
In a drawing from students registered for Xtreme Challenge, three students each won a $100 scholarship to SCCC/ATS. Dean of Student Services Celeste Donovan presented scholarships to the winners: Janelle King, Rolla; Taylor Fiss, Hugoton; and Zane Littell, Hugoton.
A total of 49 high school students left the SCCC/ATS campus with prizes in hand earned from placing as winners in the academic categories. Now, college organizers can take a few days to look back on the 2014 event, and then begin planning for the 10th Anniversary Xtreme Challenge to be April 1, 2015.
See photos at