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Racers get thumbs up for going downhill

Two of Guilderland's own had the chance to compete in an international competition in Akron, Ohio, and one of them even garnered some success while out-of-state.

Ally Burdgick, 9, and Michael Morawski, 14, won the Albany District regional championship in soap box racing and went on to Akron to compete with participants from around the globe.

The competition was held from Monday, July 21, through Friday, July 25, with many family-oriented events planned around the actual races.

Burdgick won her first heat in Ohio.

Ginger Miller, director of the Capital Region Soap Box Derby, said the Guilderland kids' accomplishment was something to be proud of. There were 602 competitors from around the globe in Akron, she said.

You're competing with the best in the world, Miller said. "That hill [in Akron] is very, very steep."

Miller said last season they had two divisions, stock and super stock. Next year they will incorporate a masters division, for older competitors.

Miller started the Capital District Soap Box Derby in 2005, after a layoff since 1960. She said no one was willing to take the position of director.

The Capital District races take place in front of the New York State Museum on Madison Avenue, and there were 31 competitors last season. Three racers go at once, Miller said.

Miller has special praise for Burdgick.

Although Burgdick did not win the entire competition, she did win one heat while in Ohio.

"It was only her first time and she won here, and then she won in Akron."

"Its just so exciting it's unbelievable. The kids are so ecstatic over it. We're well rewarded by just seeing the kids win," Miller added. "It's worth all the time, effort and money."

Burgdick came very close to winning her second heat in Akron, she said.

Her win in the first race placed her in the top 20 for the event.

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