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March 21, 2014

Ladies, start your engines!

THOMASVILLE — Thomas County Central High School’s girls’ engine-building team is revolutionizing history and taking names as it rises to national competition.

The nation’s first all-girls engine building team placed seventh out of 15 entries in the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge in Atlanta. The team, sponsored by Royal Purple, posted a time of 35 minutes, just meeting the requirements to move on to the national engine-building challenge at the Performance and Racing Industry show in Indianapolis.

“These girls are busting down barriers as we continue to promote more non-traditional careers just like female engine builders,” Mason Miller, automotive technology instructor at TCCHS, said.

The six girls on the team include Morgan Jones, Heather Buckhaulter, Katie Tonkin, Lizzy Woodruff, Amber Thompson and Megan Shepard. They had to follow the procedures of tearing down an engine and putting it back together. The competition involves 36 pages of rules and is inspected by a team of five judges.

The girls are one of 14 teams that qualified for the national competition. It is practicing for it daily.

“I love the thrill of it because it’s a manly thing to do, but we like to show we can do it just as good or even better,”  Buckhaulter said.

Central’s boys’ engine builders also qualified last weekend in Fort  Worth, Texas. They finished with a time of 24:13 and areheaded back to the “Showdown at SEMA.”

“The guys have helped serve as mentors to the girls’ team and both are excited to be heading to nationals,” Miller said.

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