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Students from 21 local high schools, including San Benito, competed for prizes and learned about automotive technology education on April 21 at Monterey Peninsula College’s Eighth Annual Automotive Skills Challenge.

San Benito High School auto teacher Tom Agan said that after competing in the “grueling,” five-hour competition, “we were in contention for the overall win and were first to finish in the last competition segment, but over-torqued some wheel lugs and fell to third overall. The guys did a great job — I’m proud of them.”

Teams came from Carmel, Monterey, North Monterey County, Salinas, Hollister, Seaside and Watsonville to compete in wheel rotation and electrical diagnosis. There was also an exhibition of cars focusing on “major milestones in automotive technical development” and a seminar on “Careers in Automotive Technology” with a panel of industry leaders and college representatives, providing an opportunity for students, parents, and counselors to ask specific questions about this career field.

The top three teams, including San Benito, received custom-engraved tools. Prizes were also awarded to the high schools with the highest cumulative scores, with the top team walking away with a six-foot tall traveling trophy.  

The event is designed to inspire students to pursue career pathways through the Monterey Peninsula College Automotive Technology program into the transportation industry. MPC’s Automotive Technology Department is a training program focused on building the automotive service professionals of the future.