For the fifth year in a row, students from the Westbrook Regional Vocational Center have won the state Class B truck driving championship.

Besides winning the overall team championship, WRVC students also swept the top individual awards in the Class B competition Friday. Dylan Knight of Westbrook took first place, Jon Powers of Bonny Eagle High School finished second, and Steve Perkins of Bonny Eagle took third.

While the WRVC team was dominant in the Class B competition, they did not fare as well in the Class A competition, getting shut out of all three top spots. The team from the St. Croix Regional Technical Center in Calais was crowned the Class A state champions. Josh Hoche of the St. Croix Regional Technical Center won first place in the individual Class A competition. Students from the Tri-County Technical Center in Dexter filled out the remaining two spots, with Kyle Rideout placing second and Will Cleaves finishing third.

Dick Dolloff, who teaches commercial driving at WRVC, said the contest started about seven years ago among several vocational centers throughout the state, and it is held at a different vocational center every year.

This year, 38 drivers from four technical schools competed. Besides Westbrook, teams from Region 9 School of Applied Technology of Rumford, Tri-County Technical Center from Dexter and St. Croix Regional Technical Center from Calais vied for the state championship.

The competition is a two-day event. On the first day, students took a written exam at the vocational center and then Dolloff said they were treated to a pizza and bowling party at the Westport Bowling Lanes on Main Street.

The second day is reserved for driving tests. The back lot of the school was filled with the sounds of idling trucks as each driver took part in four separate events designed to test their skills. First, drivers must pull up and stop as close as they can to a line painted on the ground, and they are scored based on how close they pull up to that line. Following that, they must drive through two parallel lines of tennis balls just inches wider than the width of their truck. The next two events test the drivers’ skills at backing up and stopping at a certain point and parking in a narrow space.

Dolloff said he was happy his students kept their winning streak alive with their fifth Class B title in a row. He added that win or lose, everyone had a good time while showing off their driving skills.

“We put it on for the kids because they enjoy it,” Dolloff said. “It’s a lot of work for the instructors, but we feel it’s part of our job as teachers.”

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