Geography bee students challenged on boundaries and borders |

Geography bee students challenged on boundaries and borders

Teri Vance
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada AppealVisesh Ravikumar, 13, listens to a competitor answer a question in Thursday's geography bee at Bethlehem Lutheran School. Revikumar won the event for the second year in a row.

For the second year in a row, Visesh Ravikumar, 13, won the geography bee at Bethlehem Lutheran School in Carson City.

But it didn’t look good at first.

After missing questions in the first two rounds, he thought he’d lost his shot at the title.

“I was having an open mind about it, saying it doesn’t matter if I win. It was just good to be in it,” he explained later.

And releasing the pressure helped.

“I think that drew me to win,” he said.

The bee, made up of students who qualified in a series of rounds held in individual classrooms, was held in the school’s gymnasium Thursday. It got off to a rough start.

Only 12-year-old Joe Masset answered a question correctly in the first round, and in the second round, no one correctly identified the state where Myrtle Beach is.

That left Masset in the championship round, waiting for a contender.

The third round picked up with seven students answering their questions correctly. Fourth-grader Jacob Pence lucked out with a question asking him to identify the state where the city of Reno was located.

It was in the sixth round that Ravikumar defeated his remaining opponents, by correctly answering Kansas as the state where Mount Sunflower is the highest point and is bordered by Colorado and Nebraska.

In the final round, Ravikumar continued his winning streak. He wrote “Aztec” as the answer to this question: “Mexico City is located on the site of Tenochtitlan, the island capital of what empire that was conquered by Spanish explorers in the 16th century?”

Despite his early lead, Masset, a seventh-grader, was gracious in defeat.

“I am not disappointed,” he said. “I highly praise my friend Visesh for winning.”

Ravikumar, who was born in India and moved to Carson City when he was 3, returned to his homeland a year ago. He would like to do more traveling.

“Before last year, I wasn’t good at geography,” he said. After winning last year’s bee, though, he changed his mind.

“I studied hard and got a good liking for it,” he said. “Now I’m very fond of it.”

This was the school’s 17th year holding a National Geography Bee on site.

Principal Lonnie Kargas, whose own son won four years in a row, said it encourages students to learn about their world and offers them an opportunity to travel to the state competition, for which the school’s parent association raises $250.

Ravikumar will compete at the state competition in Las Vegas on April 3.

– Contact reporter Teri Vance at or 881-1272.