By writing down the name of the correct body of water, fifth-grader Luke Lanning became the National Geography Bee champion at Marion Elementary School Dec. 6.
The winning question: From its source in Minnesota, the Mississippi River flows south about 2,300 miles before emptying into what large gulf?
After the fourth question in the tiebreaker round, Lanning defeated fellow contestant Skylar Creed with the correct answer: Gulf of Mexico.
“The winner of each school will move on to take a written test and see if they become the champion of Kansas,” said Justin Wasmuth, MES principal.
MES students in fourth through sixth grade initially had classroom competitions, he said. Teachers used previous questions and answers to get the top two with alternates in each class.
The top 12 students from each classroom went round by round at the all-school bee until getting to the final two and finally the champion.
“This is nationwide and sponsored by the National Geographic Society,” he said. “It’s getting bigger and bigger with lots of schools involved in the competition.”
The state winners will compete in the national event in May in Washington, D.C., with game-show host Alex Trebek moderating, he said.
MES?has been involved in the bee for six years, but the competition has been around for 25 years.
Skylar Creed, also in fifth grade, was runner-up, with Larry Zieammermann, sixth grade, taking third.
Other participants in this year’s competition included: fourth graders Chisholm Waner, Jayden Spencer, Mackenzie Eden and Skylar King; fifth graders Hunter Helmer and Mistie Larson and sixth graders Charlie Nordquist, Kimmie Duncan and Christian Becker.