A seventh-grader from the Northwest suburbs placed second in the 25th annual National Geographic Bee on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
Conrad Oberhaus, 13, a student at Daniel Wright Junior High in Lincolnshire, earned a $15,000 college scholarship for his effort.
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He couldn't be reached immediately for comment, but his mother, Jasmina Oberhaus, said it was wonderful to see her son rewarded for all his hard work.
"We're just so proud of him," she said. "All the kids here are extremely smart to get this far. We're thankful that he was able to get this far and that we've had a lot of help from his school and friends."
Conrad finished behind Sathwik Karnik, 12, of Massachusetts. Sathwik picked up a $25,000 scholarship, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and a trip for two to the Galapagos on a National Geographic expedition.
In the contest, students answer questions about history, world cultures, landmarks and climates.
The final question was: "Because Earth bulges at the equator, the point that is farthest from Earth's center is the summit of a peak in Ecuador. Name this peak." Sathwik nailed it: Chimborazo.
Conrad knew the answer as well, but Sathwik won because he got all five questions right in their one-on-one duel.
Earlier, Conrad couldn't name Baotou as the largest city in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, which is home to one of the world's largest deposits of rare-earth elements.
Fifty-four winners from state and territory competitions participated in the preliminary rounds of the bee on Monday. The Top 10 finishers moved on to Wednesday's final round, which was moderated by "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek.
The National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD will broadcast the final round at 7 p.m. Thursday. It will be aired again on public television on days to be determined.
Nearly 4 million students participated in the 2013 bee.
Oberhaus was a state winner and national finalist in the 2012 competition, too.
A Lincolnshire-Prairie View School District 103 spokeswoman couldn't be reached for comment.
Daily Herald staff writer Jessica Cilella and news services contributed to this report.