The Ernest Righetti High School FFA Agriculture Welding Team are masters of heavy metal in California.

The team recently captured first place and now are the state’s welding champions after battling 18 teams with 68 competitors at Cuesta Community College. ERHS has not won the title since 2008.

Teacher and FFA adviser Jim English said the students focused, planned and conquered.

“This is a big deal,’’ said English, adding the group also learned about responsibility and teamwork. “What a wonderful journey. They can look back at their accomplishments forever.’‘

The team, who all dominated with the most individual points, includes Tanner Tuttle, Devin Miller, Justin Rich and Patrick Stemlock. Tuttle placed as the First High Individual while Miller nabbed the second highest honors.

The students accomplished the victory by reading blueprints and putting welding projects together in a variety of positions with a mild steel and in aluminum. They also demonstrated several welding processes, introduced job portfolios and certified work under the guidelines of the American Welding Society.

The team has been competing statewide since March and also nabbed first place during the recent annual Alan Hancock Welding Competition.

Senior Tuttle believes the four years of hard work and dedication were worth it.

“Building career skills was not easy, but very rewarding,’’ Tuttle said.

Team members received personalized welding jackets and won the famous “Silver Bowl” that is expected to be displayed at the campus.

— Kenny Klein represents the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.