Nick Iturraran's teachers have never known him to be short on confidence. That's why when Paul Guthrie, architectural design and mechanical drafting teacher at Lodi High School, needed an extra person to round out his team, he picked Iturraran.
"If I'm motivated, then I go crazy," Iturraran said.
That decision paid off last week when Iturraran won second place at the SkillsUSA national competition in Kansas City, Mo.
Iturraran competed in the technical drafting portion of the competition, which features 88 categories, ranging from 3D animation to nail care.
During the competition Iturraran sat in front of his computer for eight hours - pausing only a half hour for lunch - drawing plans for a manual forklift.
Iturraran tried to gauge how his competitors, all state champions, were doing, but he couldn't tell.
"That's probably the worst thing you can do," Iturraran said, looking back.
The problem was complex and he had to churn out five drawings in a short amount of time. After the competition, he wasn't sure how he did.
When Iturraran called his teacher that night to give him an update, it was the only time Guthrie said that he couldn't hear the confidence in his voice.
"They really work them," Guthrie said. "And that shakes kids."
At the awards ceremony the next day, they announced the technical drafting winners 86th out of a list of 88 winners.
Iturraran sat on pins and needles with 5,200 of his peers waiting to see if he would hear his name.
When the announcer called it, he sprinted down the stairs of the stadium to grab his medal.
"It was crazy because everyone's looking at you," Iturraran said.
Iturraran hopes to go into either Stanford University or University of California, Berkeley's mechanical engineering program after his senior year.