WASHINGTON — A home-schooled teenager from Cottonwood, Minn., on Wednesday was declared winner of the 17th annual National Geographic Bee, answering a question about an obscure river in Panama.
It was Nathan Cornelius’ third straight trip to the national event, which is sponsored by the National Geographic Society and JPMorgan Chase. The 13-year-old outlasted Karen Takhar, 14, of East Providence, R.I., in an 11-question championship round.
The final question was: "Lake Gatún, an artificial lake that constitutes part of the Panama Canal system, was created by damming which river?"
The correct answer is the Chagres River.
Cornelius, who won a $25,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society, defeated nine other finalists during the contest, which was moderated by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek.
Takhar received a $15,000 scholarship and third place finisher Samuel Brandt of Eugene, Ore., got a $10,000 scholarship.
The annual competition started with nearly five million fourth through eighth graders in nearly 15,000 schools across the United States.
The top 10 finalists are eligible to be chosen for the three-member U.S. team at the National Geographic World Championship, held in July in Budapest, Hungary.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.