CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - Next month, students from across the country will compete in the National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C.
Illinois' champion is Sahan Yalavarthi, who found the third time was a charm when it came to winning the state.
"The first year, I tried it out for fun because geography interested me so much," Yalavarthi said.
Last year, he placed fifth after missing a question about the capital of Baja California. This year, he said his most nerve-wracking question was about Myanmar, but he did get it right.
Yalavarthi has a huge mural map on his bedroom wall and studies atlases whenever he gets a chance. His mom even carries around an atlas in her purse. He said the national competition is requiring a lot of extra study.
"Usually I would learn the top three or four cities in a country. Now maybe I have go into top ten cities, what bodies of water they are on, what points of interest they have," he said.
The national competition starts on May 14.