Erik Miller, a 14-year-old homeschooled 8th grader from Kent, Washington.
Contestants in tomorrow's championship round will be vying for the first prize of a $25,000 college scholarship and a lifetime subscription to National Geographic magazine. Second and third prizes are college scholarships of $15,000 and $10,000.
The 55 semifinalists had triumphed over a field of nearly five million students to earn a place in the national championships. They represented the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Pacific Territories, and Department of Defense Dependents Schools.
Alex Trebek, host of the television quiz show Jeopardy! will moderate the Bee finals for the 14th year. The championship round will air nationally later tomorrow on the National Geographic Channel. Produced by Maryland Public Television, the finals also will be broadcast at later dates on public television stations. Check nationalgeographic.com or local listings for viewing times. The broadcast is being underwritten by MasterCard International.
This year's finalists include several repeat state winners, including one who is competing for the third time. John Rice of North Dakota took part in the 2000 and 2001 national contests. Second-time winners include Aaron Kiersh, Connecticut (Florida winner in 2001); Benjamin Detrixhe, Kansas (2001); Nathaniel Mattison, New York (2000); Matthew Russell, Pennsylvania (2000); and Ryan Felix, Department of Defense Schools (2001).
The 2001 national winner was eighth-grader Kyle Haddad-Fonda of The Evergreen School in Seattle. He correctly answered the question: "Below the equilibrium line of glaciers there is a region of melting, evaporation, and sublimation. Name this zone." Answer: zone of ablation.
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