Two eighth-grade girls from the Montgomery School in Chester Springs designed a solar-powered car that bested about 80 others, earning first place in the 2008 Philadelphia Junior Solar Sprint Championship.

The race, held at Wissahickon Charter School in Philadelphia on May 31, was adversely affected by a lack of sunlight on a cloudy day, so race officials alerted the contestants to make sure to bring backup batteries.

Emily Shanley and Leila Gresh's car was the fastest of the roughly 80 entries from 20 different schools, earning the girls and their racecar a trip to Springfield, Mass. for the Northeast Junior Solar Sprint Championship, held on June 8.

The girls' car didn't make it out of the opening round in Springfield, but classmates Fritz Gustafsson and Ryan Lishon took a car into the semifinals round.

For more information on the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association and the Junior Solar Sprint Championship, visit

   Will Hobson