Two Pickerington High School Central students recently earned the right to compete next month against the best soapbox racers in the world at Akron’s hallowed Derby Downs Track.
Since 1936, hundreds of youths and adults have striven to qualify for an opportunity to ride down the Derby Downs hill in the All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron.
But as far as Central’s Tiger Tech adviser Levon Thomas can determine, there’s never been an all-student team comprising a mechanic and a driver to win a local championship and qualify for the world championship.
Central 2017 graduate Nick Johnson and senior Taylor Thompson did just that, winning the Columbus Local Soap Box Championship in the Super Stock Division on May 6.
That victory secured the mechanic and driver an invitation to compete July 16 to 22 in the world championship, but the two are taking it in stride.
“We had no idea (we were) the first student-led organization to qualify for a world spot through a local competition until we came home and thought about it,” Thompson said. “We’d just like to represent our program.”
The “program” is Tiger Tech, a club at Central through which students use science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills to compete against others from central Ohio and beyond in activities such as robotics and trebuchet, a medieval siege weapon similar to a catapult, that students annually design for events such as the Picktown Throwdown Pumpkin Chucking Trebuchet Contest.
Led by Thomas, the club has implemented soapbox racing. It owns eight soapbox cars, which Johnson and other…
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