Americans may be on shaky ground when it comes to geography knowledge, but don’t tell that to 12-year-old Sathwik Karnik of Plainville, Mass., the official winner of the 2013 National Geographic Bee.
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The contest, hosted by Jeopardy‘s Alex Trebek (in his final Bee appearance) along with former Bee vets Amy Bucci and Brian Howard, was live-blogged by National Geographic’s Melody Kramer, who reported the winning question just before 11:30 E.T.
“Because the earth bulges at the equator, which mountain peak on the earth is farthest from the earth’s center?” Bucci asked Karnik.
Karnik’s (correct) answer: Chimborazo.
Karnik’s win came after a tense final “best of five” duel with 13-year-old Conrad Oberhaus of Lincolnshire, Ill. On the first question, both answered correctly, but on the second, Oberhaus failed to correctly identify the largest city in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region — Karnik, on the other hand, nailed it: Baotou.
Both boys answered the remaining questions correctly, but Oberhaus needed Karnik to miss a question to stay in the game.
According to Ben Nuckols, writing for Associated Press, this was Karnik’s first time participating in the Bee finals, having previously lost to his older brother in both the 2011 and 2012 state-level Massachusetts Bees.
“I’m just shocked,” said Karnik. “I didn’t think I could win. I thought I would end up somewhere in the top 10.”
His winnings: a $25,000 scholarship, a trip to the Galapagos Islands (made famous by evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin) and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic society.