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County girl places 7th in geography bee

April 08, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE

There's nothing like firsthand knowledge.

Home-schooled student Sarah Keely found that out Friday after she became the only Washington County student to make it into the finals at the Maryland Geography Bee.

Two of the questions Keely, 12, encountered during the finals were about places she had just visited on a family vacation to the Southwest.

Because of her trip, Keely knew the Rainbow Bridge, on Lake Powell, was in Utah.

And she knew the name of a river in the Southwest that is also the name of a poisonous lizard: Gila River.

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Keely came in seventh among 99 participants in the competition, held at Montgomery College's Germantown, Md., campus.

She was one of seven students to correctly answer all eight questions in the preliminary round, automatically advancing to the finals.

Keely was eliminated in the 13th round of the finals, which had 19 rounds. Participants were eliminated in the finals when they gave two wrong answers.

Her final question was which English-speaking country is the island farthest east in the Caribbean. The answer is Barbados, not Bermuda, as Keely answered.

The other question that tripped her up was: What predominant Italian city in the 1500s was called the "Queen of the Adriatic?" It was Venice, not Rome.

Keely said she was grateful to Broadfording Christian Academy, which let her participate in its local geography bee, helping her to qualify for the state bee. Local bee winners also had to take a written test to make it.

Sarah, the daughter of Bill and Jeannie Keely, was one of eight Washington County students at the bee.

Smithsburg Middle School seventh-grader Josh Carson, 12, got seven of eight questions correct in the preliminary round, said his father, Steve Carson. Josh Carson competed unsuccessfully in a tiebreaker for one of the last three slots in the finals.

Michael B. Dudkin, of Silver Spring, Md., won the state bee and will represent Maryland at the National Geographic Bee in Washington May 23-24. Alex Trebek of "Jeopardy!" will host.

Last year's state winner, Zane Craig of Emmitsburg, Md., took second place this time.

The national winner will receive a $25,000 college scholarship.

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