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Which Russian city, home to the Hermitage Museum, lies on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland? Seventh-grade student Andrew D. Christy of St. Francis Central Catholic in Morgantown knew the answer was St. Petersburg. Knowing the name of that city was enough to make him West Virginia’s Geographic Bee champion for the second time in a row.
Seventy-four students from across West Virginia competed in the 2013 West Virginia Geographic Bee was hosted Friday on the Concord University campus. The students vied for the opportunity to represent the state at the 25th annual National Geographic Bee being held May 20 to 22 in Washington, D.C.
Hunter T. Moore of South Harrison Middle School in Harrison County won second place, and Keith M. Skaggs to Taylor County Middle School won third place. Both students are in the seventh grade.
Christy said he would take a break from studying before the contest in the nation’s capitol, but he plans to be prepared in May.
“I look at a lot of maps, do a lot of online quizzes and read a lot of books,” he said after the bee.
Two Mercer County students, Ronnie Smith of Glenwood School and Matthew Tench of Princeton Middle School, reached the tiebreaker round, said Linda Poff, West Virginia Geographic Bee Coordinator.
“I can remember that twice, a repeat state winner,” Poff said of Christy’s win. “It’s a great feeling to have our winners, and we will be well represented in Washington.”
Each state first-place winner will receive $100, “The Complete National Geographic” on DVD and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national finals in May and the chance to be crowned the 25th National Geographic Bee champion.
First prize in the national competition is a $25,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. Second- and third-place winners receive $15,000 and $10,000 college scholarships, respectively. The national winner will travel with one parent or guardian to the Galapagos Islands during an expedition aboard the National Geographic Endeavour.
This year’s state geographic bee was sponsored by Plum Creek. Google, Inc. is sponsoring the national bee.