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Clarence boy, 8, wins Sports Kid of the Year Sports Illustrated Kids to put him on its December cover

In an interview last month about the Sports Illustrated Kids' Sports Kid of the Year contest, Derek Andrews was asked what he wanted for his eighth birthday Oct. 4.

His reply: "To win the contest."

Happy belated birthday, Derek.

Derek, the Clarence boy with a ton of determination and a caring heart, got the good news Thursday when Sports Illustrated announced on CBS that he received the most votes in the Sports Kid of the Year contest.

"Oh my God," Derek said, as a Sports Illustrated representative told him he had won the national competition and gave him a red and white jacket in honor of his accomplishment.

Moments later, thrilled and seemingly a bit stunned, he repeated: "Oh my God."

Derek's parents, Jonathan and Tricia, and his younger brother, who all appeared on television with him, beamed with pride.

Derek will appear on the cover of the magazine in December with Sports Illustrated's Athlete of the Year.

He will be the subject of a two-page story in the magazine and will attend the Athlete of the Year dinner.

Derek, who is a third-grader at Harris Hill Elementary School in Clarence, was one of six finalists from among 5,500 initial applicants and had stiff competition.

When he previously won about $64 in a local essay contest, Derek put on a magic show for youngsters at Women and Children's Hospital. He also bought food as a welcome-home gift for elephants at the Buffalo Zoo that were returning from a stay at a zoo in Ohio.

Derek accomplished all that despite an undiagnosed ailment that is weakening his muscles and requires him to attend physical therapy sessions as often as four times a week. Despite that, he remains an outstanding baseball, hockey and soccer player.

The other finalists included the winner of the Women's Junior National Ski Jumping Championship, the Junior Olympics boys champion in track and field and a 15-year-old female fencer who finished third in the Olympic Trials.

Derek enjoys math because -- like sports -- it presents a challenge, and he wants to be either a baseball player or an astronaut when he grows up.

But for now, a huge dream has come true.


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