By Sue Kiesewetter
WEST CHESTER TWP. - When Ronak Buch competes in today's state geographic bee, he probably won't be as nervous as some of the others.
This is the Hopewell Junior School eighth-grader's third trip to the Columbus area as a state finalist - and his final chance - to win a spot in the National Geographic Bee.
"I'm pretty strong in Western Europe and Asian geography" said Buch, 13. "I'm weaker in eastern Europe and Africa."
Buch became a finalist in the National Geographic-sponsored competition for students in fourth through eighth grade after scoring highest in his school on the qualifying test.
He will join 13 other Southwest Ohio students in the state competition on the Mansfield campus of Ohio State University.
Fifteen students in Northern Kentucky will travel to Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green to see who will represent Kentucky in the May 25-26 national competition in Washington, D.C.
Unlike the qualifying test, today's competition in each state will include oral rather than written questions, if past practices are followed, Buch said.
In preparation for the match, Buch said he went to the Internet for updated maps.
He's also been memorizing capitals, which he says are always on the test.
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