One by one and sometimes two or three at a time, questions like “What landlocked country is found on the west bank of the Tiber River?” and “The Ural Mountains are mostly in Russia, but have a southern extension into what country?” eliminated contestants until one of them was the 2014 West Virginia Geographic Bee champion.
Hosted at Concord University, the geography bee drew approximately 55 student contestants from across West Virginia. After the final question, “What body of water is between the Taymyr Peninsula and Novaya Zemlya?” was answered with “Kara Sea,” Andrew Christy, an eighth-grade student from St. Francis Central Catholic School in Morgantown, was the first-place winner.
This is the third championship in the annual competition for Christy, who won the West Virginia Geographic Bee the past two years at Concord University. It was the first time a contestant has won for three years in a row, said organizer Linda Poff.
Christy will represent West Virginia in the 26th annual national competition in Washington, D.C., on May 19 to 21. The winner of that contest will be the National Geographic Bee Champion.
After Friday’s competition, Christy said he studied extensively for the bee and took a lot of notes.
“I have a really good atlas. I did facts on all the countries and the states, and I looked at a globe,” he stated. Friday was the last time he would qualify to compete in the state geography bee.
The second place winner was Hunter Moore, an eighth-grade student representing South Harrison Middle School in Lost Creek.
Moore said it was his second state geography bee, and the second time he had won second place. The hardest questions concerned languages and economies, he added.
Third place went to Hunter Midcap, a fifth-grade student from Warwood School in Wheeling. With the help of his parents, he studied the U.S. atlas and the world atlas; a geography tutor helped him study.
Each state winner will receive $100 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national finals in May and the chance to become the 26th National Geographic Bee champion.
First prize in the national competition is a $50,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. Second- and third-place finishers receive $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships, respectively.
Additionally, the national winner will travel (with one parent or guardian), all expenses paid, to the Galápagos Islands to experience geography first hand through up-close encounters with the wildlife and landscapes of the islands on an expedition aboard the National Geographic Endeavour. Travel for the Galápagos voyage is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.
The top 10 national finalists for 2014 along with next year’s top 10 will be eligible for selection for the three-person team to represent the United States at the National Geographic World Championship in July 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden.
Organized by the National Geographic Society, this year’s Geographic Bee is sponsored by Google. At the state level, the bee is also sponsored by Plum Creek.