National Geographic Bee: State Winners Advance

Josh Wentz
for National Geographic News
April 5, 2004

The U.S. state-level competitions of the National Geographic Bee have concluded. The winners will be moving on to the finals at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., on May 25 and 26.

The state competitions were completed on Friday, producing winners from all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Pacific Territories, and the overseas U.S. Department of Defense schools. Ten of the winners will be returning to the national competition for a second time.

Pop Quiz: Test yourself with questions from the Bee.

Mary Lee Elden, director of the National Geographic Bee, said the state Bee competitions were outstanding. "The level of the competition when it gets down to the final two for the championship round is top-notch. These students have a real interest in the world around them, and it shows," she said.

One of the competitors, eighth grader Lindsey McCloy from Hunters Creek Middle School in Jacksonville, North Carolina, received a surprise call before competing in her state's competition. Her father, Lt. Col. Darrin McCloy, is serving in Baghdad, Iraq, and called to wish his daughter good luck.

Of the 55 state winners, only 4 were female (the Arkansas, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania victors), continuing a pattern of mostly male winners in the Bee, according to Elden. However, the Bee staff "will continue to encourage parents and teachers to reach out to their daughters and female students, highlighting the fact that geography is for everyone," she said.

Now anticipation is building for the national competition, and the students never seem to disappoint. "The national finals are always an amazing competition. To see these students answer questions that deal with economic, cultural, physical—all sorts of geography—one can see that it is not just rote memorization," Elden said.

The students deserve all of the attention paid to them during the competition, Elden continued. "It is important to showcase these students and their knowledge of the world. Trophies, prizes, and scholarships are given for football, soccer, basketball, et cetera. Why not geographic knowledge?"

Elden had an important message for those who have won the right to compete in the national finals: "Only one will win the main prize, but they are already all winners."

2004 National Geographic Bee: State Winners

Alabama: William Moody, Lee-Scott Academy, Auburn
Alaska: Peter Stanton, Schoenbar Middle School, Ketchikan
Arizona: Troy Schilperoort, home school, Prescott
Arkansas: Sydney Rasch, Cabot Junior High South, Cabot
California: Ryland Lu, Pressman Academy, Los Angeles
Colorado: Jesse Morzel, Centennial Middle School, Boulder
Connecticut: Barrett Kenney, Haddam-Killingworth Middle School, Higganum
Delaware: David Bradshaw, Delmar Middle & Senior High School, Delmar
Department of Defense Schools: Matthew Duncan, Yokosuka Middle School, Yokosuka, Japan
District of Columbia: Benjamin Horkley, Lafayette Elementary, Washington
Florida: Hans F. Von Walter, Walker Memorial Academy, Avon Park
Georgia: Robert Nuttall, Renfroe Middle School, Decatur
Hawaii: Eric Liaw, Punahou Junior High, Honolulu
Idaho: Jordan Lofthouse, Madison Junior High School, Rexburg
Illinois: Yangbo Du, Dunlap Middle School, Dunlap
Indiana: Mark OMalley, Zion Lutheran Academy, Fort Wayne
Iowa: Mattias Gassman, home school, Ames
Kansas: Andrew Wojtanik, Lakewood Middle School, Overland Park
Kentucky: William Tamplin, Meyzeek Middle School, Louisville
Louisiana: Thimal De Alwis, SLU Lab School, Hammond
Maine: Otis Wortley, Greely Junior High School, Cumberland Center
Maryland: Justin Lane, Trinity School, Ellicott City
Massachusetts: Krishnan Chandra, Andover West Middle School, Andover
Michigan: Jamie Ding, Parcells Middle School, Grosse Pointe Woods
Minnesota: Nathan Cornelius, home school, Cottonwood
Mississippi: Ryan Ezelle, Union Junior High School, Union
Missouri: John Mikitish, South Valley Middle School, Liberty
Montana: Matthew Wells, Headwaters Academy, Bozeman
Nebraska: Jordan Klimek, Burwell Junior-Senior High, Burwell
Nevada: Paige dePolo, Little Flower School, Reno
New Hampshire: Matthew Savage, Monadnock Area Cooperative School, Hancock
New Jersey: Roman Soiko, Community Middle School, Plainsboro
New Mexico: Martin Hussey, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque
New York: Sam Himel, Collegiate School, New York
North Carolina: Lindsey McCloy, Hunters Creek Middle School, Jacksonville
North Dakota: Michael Delaney, Ben Franklin Junior High School, Fargo
Ohio: Gautham Senthilkumar, Bowling Green Junior High School, Bowling Green
Oklahoma: Christopher Chesny, Will Rogers Junior High School, Claremore
Oregon: Samuel Brandt, Roosevelt Middle School, Eugene
Pacific Territories: Jacob Nystrom, McCool Elementary/Middle School, Apra Heights, Guam
Pennsylvania: Olivia Colangelo, Franklin Regional Middle School, Murrysville
Puerto Rico: Fernando Torre, Carribbean School, Ponce
Rhode Island: Karan Takhar, The Gordon School, East Providence
South Carolina: Daniel Metzger, home school, Charleston
South Dakota: Nicholas Truelson, home school, Sioux Falls
Tennessee: Hunter Ripley, Robertsville Middle School, Oak Ridge
Texas: Ryan Avery, Dan F. Long Middle School, Dallas
Utah: Derek Wells, Pinnacle Canyon Academy, Helper
Vermont: Jonathan Martin, Camels Hump Middle School, Richmond
Virgin Islands: David James, St. Croix Country Day, Kingshill
Virginia: Naren Tallapragada, Nysmith School, Herndon
Washington: Cory Sweers, home school, Auburn
West Virginia: Jason Hartley, Pleasants County Middle School, Belmont
Wisconsin: Bo Sun, Ladysmith Middle School, Ladysmith
Wyoming: Doyle Evins, Douglas Middle School, Douglas




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