National Geographic Bee puts Mass. student on the map


National Geographic Bee winner Sathwik Karnik, left, of Massachusetts gives a thumbs-up as he correctly answers the final question posed by moderator Alex Trebek in Washington on May 22, 2013. The runner-up was Conrad Oberhaus from Illinois, at right. (Rebecca Hale/National Geographic/Associated Press)

Quick question: Name the peak in Ecuador with a summit that marks the point farthest from Earth’s center due to our planet’s bulge at the equator.

If you were Sathwik Karnik, a 12-year-old from Massachusetts, you’d know the answer is Chimborazo, and you’d have won the National Geographic Bee along with a $25,000 college scholarship.

Karnik, a seventh-grader at King Philip Regional Middle School in Norfolk, Mass., beat out 4 million fourth- through eighth-grade students nationwide with his exceptional knowledge of world geography. In addition to the scholarship, he won a trip to the Galapagos Islands aboard the expeditionary ship National Geographic Endeavor.

Conrad Oberhaus, a 13-year-old seventh grader at Daniel Wright Junior High School in Lincolnshire, Ill., placed second, and Sanjeev Uppaluri, an 11-year-old fifth-grader at Fulton Sunshine Academy in Roswell, Ga., came in third.

A local student, Akhil Rekulapelli, a 12-year-old seventh-grader at Stone Hill Middle School in Ashburn, came in fourth place.

The finals of the 25th annual National Geographic Bee were held Monday at Washington’s National Theatre, and were moderated by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek.

Other questions in the final round included: “Located in the Simien Mountains, Ras Dejen is the highest peak in what country?” “Ethiopia.” And: Name the “capital city on the Arabian Peninsula located at about 7,200 feet that receives its water supply from an aquifer that is forecast to run dry in the next decade.” “Sanaa, Yemen.”

Karnik, who plays the clarinet and competes in chess tournaments, comes from a family of geography experts.

His brother, Karthik Karnik, finished in the National Geographic Bee top 10 in 2011 and 2012.

T. Rees Shapiro is an education reporter.
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