WEST BURLINGTON — Southeastern Community College Respiratory Care students took first and second place at this year’s Sputum Bowl competition at the Iowa Society for Respiratory Care’s Lung Conference in Des Moines.

SCC Respiratory Care students Taylor Ahrens of Burlington and Megan Brackelsberg and Courtney Otte, both of Keokuk, were on the team that placed first. Abigail English and Kelsey Francis, both of Kahoka, Missouri, and Gage Johnson of Montrose battled them in the final round, earning second place.

The Iowa Society for Respiratory Care’s annual Sputum Bowl is a knowledge competition. Teams of students from participating two- and four-year schools throughout Iowa answer questions relating to the field of respiratory care.

The classmates said they prepared themselves by competing against each other weekly for a month before the actual event.

Along with a sense of friendly competition and pride was the feeling of accomplishment.

“I can see how much I’ve grown,” said Brackelsberg, who graduated this past week. “With each question, I felt like, ‘Wow, I really do know this field.’”

Brackelsberg said the ability of both teams to land in the final round speaks to how remarkable SCC’s Respiratory Care Program is.

In the last 15 years, the team has brought home the trophy 10 times, and they regularly compete at Nationals.

Three of the students on the teams are in their second year and have spent the spring semester acquiring hands-on experience at externships. Each has a job lined up in cities they’d like to live in after they graduate.

“Our students are highly sought after. I receive calls from facilities in Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri requesting our grads,” SCC Respiratory Care Program Coordinator, Stacy Lewis-Sells said. “Respiratory Care Therapists are in high demand, and our students have made it evident that they leave the program with the tools needed to take on their career.”

The first place team will represent Iowa at the national competition in Las Vegas in December.

For more information about SCC’s Respiratory Care program, contact Program Coordinator Stacy Lewis-Sells at slewis-sells@scciowa.edu or (319) 208-5204.