Host Alex Trebek, center, with Nilai Sard, 11, from Atlanta, Ga., left, and Tine Valencic, 13, from Colleyville, Texas, gestures during the final round of the National Geographic Bee in Washington, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. Valencic went on to win the competition. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
A 13-year-old boy from Texas won the National Geographic Bee on Wednesday by correctly identifying the country that is home to the Tungurahua volcano.
Tine Valencic, a seventh-grader at Colleyville Middle School, didn't miss a single question during the final round of the bee, defeating nine other boys and taking home a $25,000 scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos Islands. The answer that got him the win: Ecuador.
"I'm just taking it all in," he said after winning and being lent tissues to dry his eyes by both the bee moderator, "Jeopardy!' game show host Alex Trebek, and the bee's second-place finisher.
To get to the bee in Washington, students had to win their respective state-level competitions. The group of winners, all fourth through eighth graders, competed in a preliminary round Tuesday, narrowing the field to 10.
In the final round Wednesday at National Geographic's headquarters, students answered questions ranging from identifying the flags of various countries to what country the "bandura" is the national instrument of: Ukraine. Anthropologist Jane Goodall and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both asked taped video questions.
To clinch the victory, Valencic won a best-of-five final round, which included a question asking for the Italian name for sediment deposits that connect a shoreline with an offshore island: tombolo. Valencic and his opponent, 11-year-old Nilai Sarda of Georgia, got that one right. But Sarda stumbled on the question about the Tungurahua volcano, believing incorrectly that it was in Peru. He takes home $15,000 for second place. Third-place finisher Stefan Petrovic of Lawrence, Kan., won $10,000.
Aside from the three top-place finishers, the finalists competing Wednesday were: Alex Kimn of South Dakota, Kevin Mi of Indiana, Luke Hellum of Arizona, Tuvya Bergson-Michelson of California, Karthik Karnik of Massachusetts, Anthony Cheng of Utah and Andrew Hull of Alaska.
The bee will be broadcast on National Geographic Channel over four nights in June and will also be broadcast on public TV stations.