California eighth-grader Venkat Ranjan beat nine other finalists to take home the title at the 30th annual National Geographic Bee on Wednesday. The contestants were competing for a total of $85,000 in college scholarships.
To reach the championship round, the finalists first had to beat more than 50 of the nation's top geography whiz kids, surviving a gauntlet of brain-twisting questions and heartbreaking eliminations. Those who made it into the top 10 stepped into the spotlight alongside bee moderator and "CBS Sunday Morning" correspondent Mo Rocca.
The junior geographers reassembled Wednesday at National Geographic headquarters to put their knowledge to the ultimate test, reports CBS News' Chip Reid.
After more than ten rounds of questions, the top two finalists, Venkat Ranjan and Anoushka Buddhikot, faced off head-to-head in a bid to become this year's champion.
The final question: Lebanon has a population most similar to which South American country? The winning answer: Paraguay. Ranjan got it right, with what he admitted was an educated guess. That guess even impressed Rocca, a self-proclaimed geography nerd.
"They should each run their own think tank. They are their own think tank," Rocca said.
Back at school, Ranjan has to make up the tests he missed to go to D.C. for the competition, but it was well worth it. He won a $50,000 college scholarship and a trip to the.
One thing Chip Reid learned at the bee: The highest point in New Jersey is, appropriately enough, High Point, New Jersey.