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750 students from 40 Southern California high schools competed in
largest solar-boat competition

LAKE SKINNER, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–After a rain-filled final day of racing, Metropolitan Water District’s 17th
annual Solar Cup concluded today with students from Cypress-based Oxford
Academy and Oaks Christian of Westlake Village claiming the top awards.

The schools were among 40 teams representing five counties within
Metropolitan’s 5,200 square-mile service area, including campuses in Los
Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties.
Solar Cup is the nation’s largest solar-powered boat competition in
which students build, equip and race 16-foot, single-seat boats powered
only by the sun.

“It’s a pretty spectacular experience to see the students out on the
lake working together to solve problems in real time,” said Metropolitan
External Affairs Group Manager Sue Sims. “There’s really nothing like
this program out there that allows high school students to apply their
skills in math, physics, engineering, while also teaching them the value
of California’s natural resources. Congratulations to all of our teams.”

Oxford Academy won first place in the veteran’s division, while Oaks
Christian took the top prize in the rookie division at the three-day
competition at Metropolitan’s Lake Skinner in the Temecula Valley of
southwestern Riverside County.

“When a lot of people hear Oxford Academy, they maybe think we’re a
group of smart kids,” Oxford senior Bradney Pham said. “But we don’t
just spend one day a week working on this. We spend three days a week,
hours and hours on end. Our success here is not because we’re smart,
it’s because of the hard work we put in.”

Caleb Behunin, a junior at Oaks Christian, touted teamwork and help from
veteran teams as keys to their success.

“I feel like we all learned a lot – about gears, circuitry, and putting
it in a real-world application,” he said. “We were really a great team.
Whenever I needed help or anyone else on the team needed help, we were
always there to help each other.”

In addition to the 750 students competing, the event drew teachers,
parents and family members to cheer them on, as well as 130 volunteers
from Metropolitan and its member agencies, Occidental College, and
Southern California Edison. Solar Cup was also attended by Metropolitan
directors Larry Dick of Municipal Water District of Orange County and
Donald Galleano of Municipal Water District of Riverside County.

On Friday (May 17), teams completed a qualifying event to ensure boats
met rules and were safe and seaworthy. Saturday (May 18) the teams
attached solar-collection panels to the boats for two, 90-minute,
1-kilometer endurance races. Today, the heavy solar-collection panels
were removed and boats used solar energy stored in batteries to race
down a 200-meter stretch—like drag racing on water.

The 2019 Solar Cup program kicked off last fall when Metropolitan’s
member agencies announced their school sponsorships. Teams are sponsored
by their local water agencies and other organizations to equip the
crafts with solar panels, batteries, steering and related systems.
Metropolitan provided teams with identical kits of marine-grade plywood
to build the hull.

Below are the trophies and awards presented today. Complete Solar Cup
scores will be posted on Metropolitan’s website,
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to see the results from this weekend’s races and stay connected on other
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Veteran Division – Teams and sponsoring
member/local agency:

First Place – Oxford Academy, sponsored by Municipal Water District of
Orange County and Golden State Water.

Hottest-looking Boat – Calabasas High School, sponsored by Las Virgenes
Municipal Water District.

Rookie Division—Teams and sponsoring
member/local agency:

First Place – Oaks Christian School, sponsored by Las Virgenes Municipal
Water District.

Hottest-Looking Boat – San Jacinto Valley Academy, sponsored by Eastern
Municipal Water District and Rancho California Water District.

Bart Bezyack Memorial Spirit of Solar Cup
Trophy (sportsmanship)

Compton High School, sponsored by City of Compton.

Teamwork Award:

Anaheim High School, sponsored by Anaheim Public Utilities.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a
state-established cooperative that delivers water to 26 member agencies
serving 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water
from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local
supplies, and helps develop increased water conservation, recycling,
storage and other resource-management programs.

Solar Cup b-roll footage is available at

Photos and videos of this weekend’s event are available upon


Maritza Fairfield, (213) 217-6853; (909) 816-7722, mobile