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Students Compete for Scholarships in Auto Repair Contest

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SPARKS, Washoe County -- It seemed like a scene from the movie Grease -- high school students skipping school to work on cars to see whose is the fastest.

Only this race was against time. Ten teams of two were given a little over an hour to fix deliberately "bugged" Mercury Mountaineers. Judge Mark Woods says it's no easy task.

"There are tough problems," he says. "These are problems are like those you would see in a garage."

Unlike a garage, these juniors and seniors won't get a paycheck at the end of the day, but they could win a state title and a full-ride to college.

The Auto Repair Championship has been challenging young minds since since 1949. This year, organizers say competition is a little different.
In the past, this has been a men's competition. But not any more -- now women are getting their hands dirty, too. This is the first year a team of women have showed up with tools in hand for the challenge.

[CG at 1'01":Locator (Double Line)\Amber McFadden\Palo Verde High/Las Vegas]
"It's fun to come out and show that women can do this job too," says contestant Amber McFadden of Las Vegas Palo Verde High School.

When the buzzer sounded, only three teams finished in time.

[CG at 1'04":Locator (Double Line)\Robert Graves\Churchill High/Fallon]
"We did the best we could for the time we had," said Fallon Churchill High School's Robert Graves. "But it was still pretty tough."

While winning was important, some teams were just happy for the experience.

"If you get stuck on the side of the road, You'll know what's wrong with your car," McFadden said.

Now the damsel in distress can proudly change her own spark plugs

First prize went to Winnemucca Lowry High School. Both team members receive $10,000 in scholarships, and will go on to the national finals in Washington, D.C.

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