Back and forth they went, answering questions about places on the planet that probably aren’t studied in many middle schools, high schools or colleges, for that matter. Questions ranged from the Mississippi to mountain ranges in Middle Asia and tiny islands in the Pacific Ocean.
But that’s what you get at the ever-challenging National Geographic Bee, held Thursday, Dec. 12, at Phoenix Middle School.
At the end of a long two-way battle for first, eighth grader Areli Montelongo came out as champion ahead of runner-up Hector Padilla. Sixth grader Cody Bliss came in third.
Other participants were eighth grader Kali Anditon, seventh graders Tyler DuBois, Grace Kirkpatrick and Ulysses Reyes, and sixth graders Liz Craig, Alex Duran and Chris Wanless.
The Phoenix Geography Bee is part of the larger National Geographic Bee, which has been hosted by the National Geographic Society for more than 20 years.
As champion of the Phoenix Middle School Geography Bee, Montelongo will advance to the next level of the nationwide competition by taking a written examination that will determine if she qualifies for the state-level competition.
School winners who advance through the state competition are eligible to win the national championship and its first prize — a $25,000 college scholarship — at the national competition on May 19-21, in Washington D.C.