Mitchell Anderson took second place at this years Industrial Maintenance and mechanics and welding repair.
Mitchell Anderson took second place at this years Industrial Maintenance and mechanics and welding repair.
Spring Grove High School senior, Mitchell Anderson, won second place at this year's Industrial Maintenance and Mechanics Repair (IMMR) Welding Contest held at Riverland Community College in Albert Lea. Eighty students competed from 18 area schools.

Anderson had entered the competition last year, but didn't place. Regarding his first attempt, he said, "I knew how to weld, but I was real nervous and shaky last year. I knew I didn't do well."

This year, he spent the entire week beforehand preparing. He and classmate, Jaymie Lenning, came in before school to practice welding every morning. All that preparation must have paid off, as Anderson said, "I guess I did well."

Welders were judged on their skill in stick welding, wire feed welding and gas welding. Each competitor was assigned a number. The number was placed on the pieces they welded, which were judged solely on the skill of the welds. "Nobody knows who you are, or how well you've done before," Anderson said. Points were also assigned for use of the appropriate safety equipment, and there was a 30-question test covering safety practices and terminology.

When they started announcing the six winners, Anderson had a couple of tense moments. Sixth and fifth place winners were announced, and he said he started getting down on himself and thinking, "Oh, I'm not going to get this."

When the student who had won the competition for the last two years took fourth place, Anderson said he thought, "There's no way I beat this kid," so he started packing up his stuff.

Then, all of a sudden they called his name. "I picked my head up and my mouth dropped, and I was like, well all right then!"

Anderson said, "I find it interesting how you can take two different pieces of metal and put them together to make something great, something that will never break."

In order to learn more about the welding business, Anderson talked to a welder with whom his father works. He had attended North Dakota State College of Science, and was also asked to be a professor there. He now has his own welding business in Brainerd, Minn.

Mitchell Anderson is the son of Corey and Erica Anderson. Next year he plans to attend North Dakota State College of Science, in Wahpeton, N.D., to major in welding and minor in business management. After school, he plans to come back to the Spring Grove area to start his own welding business.