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MCCC Automotive Student Jason Bielski
Is Winner on Court and in Classroom


West Windsor, N.J. - If there's one thing Mercer County Community College Automotive Technology student Jason Bielski understands, it's that hard work yields results. At 26, Bielski excels as a college student and automotive intern at a local dealership. And while his friends in the automotive field more typically gravitate to sports such as hunting and fishing, Bielski has found a second home on the tennis court, this May earning a national title.

A member of the MCCC men's tennis team under Head Coach Marc Vecchiolla, Bielski was one of the team's pillars this season - playing no. 2 singles and no. 1 doubles with partner Matt Pierson. He and Pierson won the no. 1 doubles title at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Div. III tournament held in Plano, TX, May 10-14. Almost as impressive, Bielski got to the final at no. 2 singles, eventually losing in three sets. The Vikings finished fifth out of 11 teams.
Both Bielski and Pierson were named All-Americans. Based on his stellar 3.64 GPA, Bielski was also named an Academic All-American.

Bielski had already been to nationals with the Vikings in 2008 in the no. 5 spot, an experience, he says, that helped him handle the pressure this time around. "I decided if I was going to lose, it was going to be because the other player beat me, not because of my mistakes. Nerves did not play a part in the results." In his earlier appearance, Bielski lost in the semifinal round in both singles and doubles.

Taking a break from team tennis in 2009, Bielski focused on practicing his game, and rejoined the Vikings a vastly improved player this year, according to Vecchiolla. "His intensity on the court is visible. He expects a lot from himself. He battles for every ball," Vecchiolla said. "He is a joy to coach and a really good guy."

While a force to be reckoned with on the court, Bielski always tries to be gentleman. "I have a shared passion with anyone who loves tennis. Winning or losing, I try to be a nice guy. It goes both ways," he says.

In addition to Vecchiolla, Bielski credits numerous others with contributing to his game. His father Carl is an avid tennis player, and started his son off with lessons at the age of 6. They have played together regularly, surrounded by a circle of historically big names in local tennis - Marty Devlin, Stan Dlugosz, (MCCC's former head coach), Scott Stoner and others.
Bielski during a match at Mercer County Park

Bielski in MCCC's auto shop with
Associate Professor
Fred Bassini

Bielski notes those matches are likely to continue, as his dad just finished building a tennis court in the backyard of their Ewing home. "He keeps doing things to improve life for our family."

Bielski says his dad is definitely proud of his performance at nationals. "He understands that it's a huge accomplishment. As a player, he appreciates what it takes both mentally and physically to compete at that level."

Tennis is not the only pursuit this father and son share. Bielski has also followed his father, a retired GM worker, into the automotive field. It's a decision he made with the goal of landing a job upon graduation. He notes that with its 1200-hour internship requirement, Mercer's Comprehensive Automotive Technology Program is designed to do just that.

Bielski says Program Coordinator Fred Bassini and instructor Jason Evans have given him excellent preparation. "In the shop and in the classroom, they really try to give us as much information as they can in the time they have with us." He notes that the college's auto shop looks like the real thing, with a large inventory of cars for students to work on. "You can break something and then you can fix it. I am definitely getting the understanding and hands-on experience I need."

Apparently, the Princeton Honda dealership where Bielski has worked since last August agrees. He says they are eagerly awaiting his graduation from Mercer later this month so that he can start work full time. He adds that he is grateful to them for giving him the needed time off this spring to concentrate on tennis.

Bielski clearly sees the value of his profession. "Everybody drives a car to work. We're the ones that keep it going round and round," he says. "And, if you consider that mechanics are to cars as physicians are to the human bodies, then we're the ones making sure the physician can get to work," he says with a smile.

Reflecting the work ethic that has brought him both tennis and career success, Bielski says, "I try to take in what I learn and use it. I always want to become better. I don't shut any doors. I keep moving forward."

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