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The preliminary round of the 28th annual National Geographic Bee was held today, Monday, May 23. The top 10 finishers — from the field of 54 state-level champions who took part in the prelims — will compete in the final round to be held at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 25. First prize is a $50,000 college scholarship, lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. The national champion will also travel (along with one parent or guardian), all expenses paid, on a Lindblad expedition to southeast Alaska aboard National Geographic Sea Lion, including a stop at Glacier Bay National Park, in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Travel for the trip is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and the National Geographic Society. Second- and third-place winners receive $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships respectively. This round of the competition will be aired on the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, May 27.

The 10 finalists are:

  • Kapil Nathan — Alabama
  • Rishi Nair — Florida
  • Rishi Kumar — Maryland
  • Saketh Jonnalagadda — Massachusetts
  • Lucas Eggers — Minnesota
  • Grace Rembert — Montana
  • Samanyu Dixit — North Carolina
  • Ashwin Sivakumar — Oregon
  • Pranay Varada — Texas
  • Thomas Wright — Wisconsin

To determine which finalists would qualify to compete in the final round the following preliminary competition tiebreaker questions had to be answered correctly:


Q1: The Paraguay River flows into which other river near the city of Corrientes?

A1: Paraná River


Q2: Corno Grande is the highest peak in which mountain range that stretched the length of peninsular Italy?

A2: Apennines


Q3: The islands of Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer belong to which country?

A3: Ireland



Wednesday, May 25

Doors open to the media:          8:30 a.m. ET

Doors close:                               9:30 a.m. ET

Competition:                              10 a.m. to ~11:30 a.m. ET


National Geographic Society

Grosvenor Auditorium

1600 M Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C.

*Contestants as well as National Geographic spokespersons will be available for interviews directly after the competition.



Farley Fitzgerald, National Geographic, (202) 775-6119,


Photos available via DropBox (required caption and credit info enclosed)



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