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Third time’s a charm for Hanson
BVMS 8th grader wins geography bee title
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

January 23. 2013 10:24AM
The run of repeat champions of the local geography bee has been squelched.

Nick Hanson, an eighth grader at Brandon Valley Middle School, outlasted nine other finalists last Tuesday to claim this year’s title. It was his third – and final – year as a top 10 finalist, and this year was finally Hanson’s year. As a seventh grader, he finished second to fellow classmate Emmett Simmons, who placed third behind Hanson and runner-up Anthony Auch.

The BVMS Geography Bee has had a tradition of repeat champions over the last decade. Andrew Bakke had a three-year title run in the early 2000’s, and Robert Haggar swept the local competition in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Hanson said there was two key factors in his title win: previous experience and preparation.

“I felt a lot more confident being here with my past experience,” said the three-time BVMS Geography Bee finalist. “And I prepared for this, and was told by friends and teachers to just stay calm.”

And calm Hanson did stay through 15 rounds of questions read by Superintendent Dave Pappone. Out of the 15 questions, Hanson stumbled on the eighth, but survived the next seven rounds to defeat Auch in what was dubbed as the “sudden death” round.

Round seven, which focused on continents, eliminated its first finalist – Adam Else – and three others – Damen Holmes, Kyle Heidbrink and Morgan Else – all took their first hits.

“It got a lot harder in a hurry, didn’t it?” BVMS Principal Dan Pansch suggested to the remaining nine contestants.

Holmes and Runia bowed out in the eighth round and the 10th round, which offered no multiple-choice answers, took out McClane Archer, Heidbrink, Intisar Koch and Morgan Else, leaving three.
“That was a tough round,” said Mary Erickson, a BVMS geography teacher.

The 10 local finalists were determined by a 40-question written test taken by the entire BVMS student body, Pansch explained. The top three scores in both the sixth and seventh grade classes, and the top four in the eighth grade class, earned the right to battle it out for the local title.

“When you have classes of 250 to 280, to be in the top three of anything is an honor,” Pansch told the students.

Hanson will now take a second written test, this one to determine if he qualifies for the state geography bee competition, to be held later this year.

Ten Brandon Valley Middle School students competed in the finals of the local Geography Bee Tuesday. Pictured are, from left, row one: Runner-up Anthony Auch and 2013 BVMS Geography Bee champ, Nick Hanson; standing: Morgan Else, Kyle Heidbrink, Adam Else, Caden Runia, Damen Holmes, Intisar Koch, McClane Archer and Emmett Simmons. Photo by Jill Meier

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