Riverside Poly High School won first place in the veteran’s division of the 16th annual Solar Cup Competition Sunday for the third consecutive year.

The final round of the competition, where students from 38 Southern California high schools rely on the sun’s rays to power boats, was held Sunday morning at Lake Skinner in Winchester.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California event featured teams from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. More than 600 students were involved in this year’s contest.

Contestants’ 16-foot plywood skiffs, outfitted with solar-collection panels that supply the electricity needed to power them, hit the water in 200-meter sprint races, according to the MWD.

The competition saw the students powering through 1-mile endurance races.

Students spent the last seven months readying their hand-built crafts, which were constructed from kits consisting of batteries, drive trains, electrical systems, propellers, rudders and the solar panels.

“This weekend is the culmination of seven months of hard work for these students. Over that time, they’ve learned about engineering and mechanics, about water resources and conservation, about teamwork,” said Michael Camacho, who represents the Inland Empire Utilities Agency on the MWD Board of Directors.

Trophies went to teams that racked up the highest points for performance in a variety of categories, with an award ceremony held after the final round of races. Awards were bestowed on standouts in veteran and rookie divisions as well as for teamwork, sportsmanship and the “hottest-looking boat,” according to the MWD.

Costa Mesa High School took the top prize in the rookie division.

Since 2002, more than 10,000 students have taken part in the solar boat races.

Complete Solar Cup scores will be posted at www.mwdh2o.com.

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