The Chapare River basin is located north of the city of Sucre in what landlocked country?

The Chapare River basin is located north of the city of Sucre in what landlocked country?

This is just a sample questions that two Westerville middle school students might be seeing when they compete in the state-level competition of the National Geographic Geography Bee on March 27 at Ohio Dominican University.

(By the way, the Chapare River basin is in Bolivia.)

Maxwell James, an eighth-grade student at Genoa Middle School, and Reece Rexroad, a seventh-grader at Walnut Springs, will compete to win $100, the new National Geographic Atlas of the World, 10th Edition, a medal, and a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent Ohio in the National Geographic Geography Bee Championship May 11-13, which will be hosted by Jeopardy's Alex Trebek.

Matthew Yingling, a seventh-grade history teacher at Genoa and the school's National Geographic Bee coordinator, said the schoolwide geography bee competition started in December when students in every history class participated.

"Some students like the geography bee because it's different from the daily lessons and it brings out their competitive nature," he said.

Each of the 12-13 classroom champions faced off against one another and then each grade-level champion competed against one another until there was a school winner, Yingling explained.

The school's winner took a standardized written test that was submitted to the National Geographic Society and 100 of the top-scoring students were invited to the state competition.

Yingling said the geography bee is something that's fairly difficult to study for.

"Students are asked a series of questions related to geography, capitals, land forms, rivers, etc. It's a bit like a spelling bee where it's just the luck of the draw whether you get an easy or hard question," he said.

There are daily online quizzes called GeoBee Challenges by National Geographic that Yingling suggested James use as a study tool for the semi-finals.

Yingling said he is confident that James has what it takes to be the first Genoa student to make it to D.C.

"I think he has the desire to do well in the competition. You can see it in his face. That's all we can ask for," Yingling said.

Ryan Borland, James' American history teacher at Genoa, said James is a very driven person who strives to do his best at everything he does.

"He manages his time very well and preparing for the geography bee has not been a problem. So far, he has been reviewing maps and studying world geography," Borland said, "He is very excited and we are super proud of Maxwell. Hopefully, things go well for him at the next level."

Ohioan Kyle Yu, a student from Lee Burneson Middle School in Westlake, made it to the top 10 of the National Geographic Geography Bee last year, according to National Geographic's website.

However, no one from the Buckeye State has ever won the event.

Jeffrey Holmes, sixth-grade social studies teacher at Walnut Springs, said Rexroad, a semifinalist, is a fantastic student with a knack for geography.

"In preparation for the state competition, he will likely use current issues of National Geographic magazine and National Geographic for Kids magazines to brush up on current geographic news, events and places," he said.

Walnut Springs has sent a student to the State Geographic Bee competition for five straight years, and Rexroad is happy to carry on the tradition.