It was a close race, but none of our St. Cloud area students, including defending champion Gopi Ramanathan of Sartell, advanced to the final round of today's State Geography Bee.

The Geography Bee tests students' knowledge of continental and world geography, as well as current issues like natural disasters and environmental issues.

102 fourth-through-eighth graders - 96 of them boys - competed head to head in 8 rounds for 10 final round spots. Students came from all over the state after winning competitions in their regions, as well as scoring highly on written geography exams.

The competition was held at the Atwood Memorial Center of St. Cloud State University, with the final round in the Ritsche Auditorium.

Today's winner will represent Minnesota in the National Geography Bee this May in Washington D.C.