PHOTO: AAA Arizona
Marana High School students Evan Cloutier and Kevin Reich won first place at the AAA Student Auto Skills State Finals.

Tucson high school students took top honors at a state auto skills competition last week.

Marana High School students Evan Cloutier and Kevin Reich won first place at this year’s AAA Student Auto Skills State Finals held May 3 at Glendale Community College.

The high school automotive competition was a combination of a written test and hands-on practice.

“Everyone got a Ford Focus and the Ford Focus cars were all bugged a certain way,” said Valerie Vinyard, a AAA Arizona spokeswoman. “They were timed on how quickly they were able to tell what was wrong and fix it and drive it across the finish line.”


Flowing Wells High School students Hung Dinh and Robert Wineinger took second place.

“They made sure Marana had to work for it,” said Jerrad McMurrich, Flowing Wells' automotive teacher. “Every year we go to this and we just do our best and hope for the best.”

“It was the first time for Marana to even enter the competition and they won,” Vinyard said. “Tucson essentially swept the competition.”

The first-place winners took home more than $35,000 in scholarships to automotive schools, and the second-place winners also received scholarships, Vinyard said.

“We understand it’s important to have quality technicians,” she said. "We got to help maintain our ever-evolving cars and this gives motivated kids a chance to obtain the best technical training and a way to pay for it.”

In June, Cloutier and Reich will compete in the National Finals competition held in Michigan.

Mariana Dale is a University of Arizona intern at Arizona Public Media.