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The part of the lawn the top sprinkler misses, the middle one is almost certain to catch, and the lower one definitely sops the spots that neither the middle nor the top reaches.

Christopher Sain's "Above-Ground Sprinkling System" consists of three different types of sprinklers on a pop-up pipe. It is so ingenious, it won the William Penn Elementary School youngster first place in the state Invent America contest.Christopher, now a second-grader, was recently notified his first-grade invention was the state winner.

In an appearance before the Granite Board of Education, the precocious little fellow, decked out like a mini-entrepreneur in suit and tie, explained that he received his first sprinkler when he was about 21/2 years old and he's been tinkering with them since. He now has "about 90" sprinkler heads. Some he buys with his own money, others are gifts. He even asked Santa to add to his hoard.

Christopher told the Granite Board members that he wants to be a "sprinkling system engineer" when he grows up.

If that requires a college education, he can add the $200 saving bond he won in the Invent America contest to his fund.

Sara Woodbury was the state's second-grade winner in the national competition. Her invention was a Kids Ski Sling, and she also received a $200 award for her inventiveness.

Sara is a student at Carden Memorial School, a private school in the Sugar House area.

The contest is sponsored by K mart, Binney & Smith and Polaroid. Winners also receive items for their schools, including library books, education materials, an Invent America banner and flag for excellence. The program fosters innovative thinking among children, inviting them to create solutions to everyday problems.