6 Columbia students show off global knowledge

The group is among 100 students to reach the state geography bee.
Sunday, April 3, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:21 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 3, 2008

Know anything about the soil around the Senegal River? Don’t worry; Smithton Middle School seventh-grader Alan Hatfield had trouble with that one, too.

Hatfield and five other Columbia students were among the 100 who competed at the state geography bee Friday at MU’s Memorial Union.

The participants were divided into groups for preliminary rounds and answered questions on topics including United States geography, historical geography, economic geography and cultural geography.

Hatfield said he prepared for the event by using several Web sites, memorizing facts and making mental maps in his head. He only missed two questions but said he expected more of himself.

“I don’t think I did as well as I could,” he said. “But there’s always next year, I guess.”

Eleven participants had perfect scores after the preliminary round, which organizers said hasn’t happened in recent history. No Columbia students were among the 10 students in the final round.

Matthew Thampy of St. Peters won first place, $100, a globe and a trip to the May national championship in Washington, D.C. Thampy, who is home-schooled, is the fourth in his family to participate in the state bee.

Columbia students competing at the state tournament were: Katherine Van Doren, eighth-grader, of Columbia Home Educators; Alexander Mramor, eighth-grader, of West Junior High School; Hatfield; Asa Lory, fourth-grader, of Grant Elementary School; Jessica Hwang, eighth-grader, of Jefferson Junior High School; and Issac Pasley, fifth-grader, of Fairview Elementary School.

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