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Merkle wins Geography Bee at Cheney

Ten finalists from grades 6, 7 and 8 competed in the Cheney Middle School 2008 Geography Bee on Wednesday, January 16. Each contestant was given a hand-held white board and marker at the beginning of the competition to write their answers. They were given 15 seconds to respond to each question. Students were eliminated after answering two questions incorrectly.

Competitors in the Geography Bee were Alex Bertsch, Lance Wilson, Ben Brooks, Eric Haugen, Max Pergande, Mark Staples, Dylan Erdmann, Madelynn Haider, William Merkle, and Lucas Stillwell. Pam Rezac served as moderator, announcing each of the questions. Jenni McLean and Susan Klabunde were the judges and coordinators of the Geography Bee. Kelly Holaday and Cora Davis served as timers and scorekeepers.

The event began at 1 p.m. By 1:30, five contestants had been eliminated. At the end of the preliminary round of questions, the two contestants remaining were Mark Staples and William Merkle.

Starting with a clean slate, the two contestants entered the championship round. They had three questions to determine who would be the winner.

In the end, Mark Staples was declared first runner-up, and William Merkle was named as Cheney's 2008 Geography Bee champion.

Merkle will now take a test to qualify to compete in the statewide Geography Bee, which will be held in Bismarck in March.