The Edmond Sun

April 30, 2013

Top history, geography students square off in Washington

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Edmond students faced off with students from across the state in February to earn the title of “Champion” in regional competitions and to move on to national competitions.

In addition to the National History Bee (a competition for individual students with 330 students participating) and the National History Bowl (a team competition with 198 teams), this year’s National Championships also featured the debut of the U.S. Geography Olympiad.

Matt Lowe, a senior at Oklahoma Christian Academy, was named the Oklahoma champion in the regional Geography Olympiad in February. He is the son of Kevin and Carol Lowe of Edmond. Matt scored higher than any of the other 102 students from Oklahoma earning him a trip to Washington, D.C., April 26-28, to compete in the National Geography Olympiad.  

Matt was one of 155 students vying to become the U.S. Geography Olympiad Champion. The top four students earned a place on the first Team U.S.A. and an invitation to the International Geography Olympiad in Kyoto, Japan, this summer.

Matt was joined by more than 1,000 high school history and geography students from across the United States who converged in Washington for a weekend full of competition.

The annual National History Bee and Bowl National Championship, featured more than 800 students from across the United States and as far away as Guam and international schools from London and Tokyo.

In February, 17 students came together in an incredibly balanced field for the 2013 Oklahoma History Bee at Edmond Memorial High School, and because there were only two sophomores in the field, this Bee was played with the Varsity and Junior Varsity divisions combined.

Sophomore Andrew Noland of Claremore was declared the Junior Varsity Champion after advancing one stage further than Benjamin Zhao of Edmond Santa Fe.

The two sophomores didn’t fold under the pressure of playing up a division, however; both qualified for the national championship on April 28 in Arlington, Va., by finishing in the top half of the field. Not only that, but they were seeded third and fifth respectively after the three preliminary rounds, also.

Eight students went forward to the first playoff stage, with the first four to score three points advancing further. Reaching that second finalist stage were top-seeded junior Yifan Song from Edmond Santa Fe, second-seeded Ryan Lane from Claremore, Andrew, and senior Jonathan Miller from Edmond Memorial. The top two seeds moved on to an extended final. Ryan won that final, 8-7, over Yifan.

As for the two sophomores, Andrew Noland was declared the Junior Varsity Champion after advancing one stage further than sophomore Benjamin Zhao of Edmond Santa Fe.

While the competition crowns a champion, the real goal of the weekend is to celebrate history. According to NHBB Executive Director David Madden, “We want to recognize and reward students for their love of history.”

The competition was at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va., and seven host sites throughout Washington, D.C., including the Smithsonian Institution, Anderson House, the Phillips Collection and the Kosciuszko Foundation.