Redmond girl wins geography bee

WASHINGTON – On the wings of a flawless run, 14-year-old Caitlin Snaring, an eighth-grader from Redmond sailed to victory Wednesday as the first female champion of the National Geographic Bee in 16 years.

She beat out nine other finalists who had emerged from the nearly 5 million elementary and middle-school students nationwide who competed for the 2007 title.

“I was totally confident that I could do it,” Snaring said after the competition at National Geographic’s D.C. headquarters, clutching her $25,000 college scholarship prize check. “I want to travel everywhere, so knowing where every place is is a real advantage.”

In the final round, Snaring, her face flushed pink and taut with concentration, was running neck and neck with Suneil Iyer, 12, a seventh-grader from Kansas. She clinched the title on this question: “A city that is divided by a river of the same name was the imperial capital of Vietnam for more than a century. Name this city, which is still an important cultural center.”

Iyer scribbled down Ho Chi Minh City. Snaring went for Hue, including the accent over the e. With that, host Alex Trebek pronounced the winner.

Sample questions

Examples of the more than 50 questions asked in the final rounds of the National Geographic Bee:

1: Silbo, a code language whistled across the hilly terrain of a North Atlantic island group, became required learning in schools in order to save it from extinction. Silbo can be heard on the island of Gomera, administered by what country?

2: Until the late 1800s, people on a present-day island country practiced cannibalism using forks like the one seen here. Name this country, whose largest island is Viti Levu.

3: Name the item that does not belong, and say why: Davis Strait, Strait of Gibraltar, Luzon Strait, Cook Strait, Bering Strait.

4: The second-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa is also the richest Portuguese-speaking country in Africa. Name this country.

5: The major mountain ranges on Earth’s seven continents are dwarfed in length by an underwater range that runs from just north of the Antarctic Circle to north of the Arctic Circle. Name this submarine mountain range.

Answers: 1. Spain. 2. Fiji. 3. Cook Strait, the only one listed that is in the Southern Hemisphere. 4. Angola. 5. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

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