Rahul Nagvekar, 13, says he will ramp up his studies of maps and other sources before the National Geographic Bee in May.
"I've done this for a long time. I've worked a lot. I really felt like this was what I've been working for," said Rahul, of Sugar Land. He attends Quail Valley Middle School in Missouri City.
After 10 rounds of finals competition, Rahul faced Jacob Brown, of Doerre Intermediate School in Klein school district in the three-question championship round.
Third place went to Ben Benjadol, of Wilshire Elementary School in Euless.
Rahul Nagvekar, who took second place last year, is the winner of the Texas Geographic Bee. He did not miss one question during this morning's event.
UPDATE 11:40 a.m.
Some facts about the competitors: Of the 10 finalists only one is a girl: Anna C. Bowers, of Diane Gorzycki Middle School in Austin. There were only 6 females among the top 100.
And Ben Benjadol, a fifth grader at Wilshire Elementary School at Hurst-Euless-Bedford schools, was the runner up at the Fort Worth regional spelling bee earlier this month. Unlike the spelling bee, though, students can miss two questions, not just one, before being eliminated.
UPDATE 11:10 a.m.
Students are being eliminated from the tie breaker round. Seven students are still on the stage. For this round, they are being asked the same question, writing their answers with a marker on a white board and holding the board up for judges to see. They're wearing blue tags around their necks shaped like the state of Texas, each bearing their number.
UPDATE 10:45 a.m.
Prelims are over and 17 of 100 students who made perfect scores in that round are taking the stage. But before the finals can start, the students have to go through a tie breaker round to narrow the field to the top 10 spots.
"This will be the first time we've had to do a tie breaker with all perfect scores," said Texas coordinator Marci Smith Deal. "Pretty awesome."
UPDATE 10:30 a.m.
Tine Valencic, an 8th grade student at Colleyville Middle School who won the National Geographic Bee last year, is here at the state contest.
He gave a pep talk to the students before the preliminary round, telling them to relax and focus on the questions. It was the same advice he heard from a contest coordinator in a previous year, he said.
Tine, 14, is not eligible to compete this year because he took the national title last year, officials said.
"It feels a lot less stressful than last year," he said.
Tine, who took second place in the Texas contest in 2009 and won it in 2010 and 2011. As the national winner he took a trip to the Galapagos Islands, he said. He's currently preparing for the state science competition.
Students from across Texas are getting ready to show how much they know about the Earth at the state Geographic Bee.
To start this morning's Texas Geographic Bee competition, the 100 students are going through a preliminary round in small rooms in the Pay May Center at the Hurst-Euless-Bedford school district. After scoring the top 10 finishers will emerge to a large room where parents and teachers are waiting for the finals.
The winner will get a trophy and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national finals May 22 and 24.
The field is particularly tough in the Lone Star State because of the number of children who participate in the contest, open to students in grades four through eight who are in public, private or homeschool, said Texas coordinator Marci Smith Deal.
"It's such a tough competition in Texas," said Deal, HEB schools social studies coordinator. "You've got more than 1,000 public schools. That's literally millions of kids and these are the top."
Judges have been brought in from across the state, including geographers from San Marcos and New Braunfels.
Please check back this morning for updates on the competition.