Indian Americans and South Asian Americans March 31 were the big winners at National Geographic Bee state competitions throughout the country, accounting for more than a third of the winners.

At least 21 Indian Americans and South Asian Americans were among the 54 students who punched their tickets to the 29th annual National Geographic Bee next month.

Among the state bee winners were fifth grader Aditya Narayanan of Sonoran Sky Elementary School in Scottsdale, Ariz.; and sixth graders Lakshay Sood of Albuquerque Academy in New Mexico; Anshuta Beeram of Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School in Burlington, Vt.; Ahilan Eraniyan of Diablo Vista Middle School in Danville, Calif.; and Anish Susarla of Belmont Ridge Middle School in Leesburg, Va.

A total of 12 seventh graders won their respective state bees, including Vishal Sareddy of Suwanee, Ga.; Sahan Sai Yalavarthi of Buffalo Grove, Ill.; Sathvik Kasarabada of Olathe, Kan.; Rohan K. Rao of Columbia, Mo.; Abhinav S. Govindaraju of Bedford, N.H.; Veda Bhattaram of Montville, N.J.; Krishna Kamalakannan of Fargo, N.D.; Saket Pochiraju of Lewis Center, Ohio; Ashwin Sivakumar of Portland, Ore.; Eshan Singh of Yardley, Pa.; Simeon Betapudi of Cordova, Tenn., and Ankit Garg or Logan, Utah.

Eighth grade winners included Rohan Kanchana of Newark Charter School in Newark, Del.; Nabhoneel Sil Upadhyay of Kingsview Middle School in Germantown, Md.; Pranay Varada of Dewitt Perry Middle School in Carrollton, Texas, and Arjun Nathan of Pine Lake Middle School in Sammamish, Wash.

The 54 winners came from more than 4,600 competitors across the U.S. and territories. Winners came from each state, Washington, D.C., Atlantic and Pacific territories and the Department of Defense dependent schools.

A total of 18 students are returning to the national championship from previous years, including Varada and Sivakumar.

The National Geographic Bee, won in 2016 by Indian American Rishi Nair (see India-West article here) and by Indian Americans the previous five years, is scheduled for May 14 to May 17 at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. 

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