Tanner Carlson knows the body of water that connects the Gulf of Oman with the Persian Gulf is the Strait of Hormuz.

Tanner, a student at Horizon Middle School, answered the question to become the North Dakota National Geographic Bee champion Friday during the competition held at the University of Mary.

One hundred students from across the state qualified to compete. For the final, it was narrowed down to the top 10 students through oral questions.

In the final round, students had to match cities with states, topography with states, facts with cities, and clues and photos of landmarks with countries.

Tanner won the state competition last year and said he felt relieved to win again.

“Going last year was the most fun thing I’d ever done,” he said. “It’s fun meeting people who like geography as much as I do.”

Tanner said geography is his favorite subject. He studies one hour almost every day, poring over atlases and read ing books about other countries.

Calista Heley, a seventh-grader at Lidgerwood Public School, took second place and Trevor Behm, a seventh-grader at Mandan Middle School, took third.

“I thought I would be nervous but it was fun,” Calista said. “I hope to come back next year.”

Calista said she watches the National Geographic channel at home all the time and travels a lot with her family.

“I’ve been to it and live in it. That makes it interesting.”

As a prize for winning, Tanner received $100, “The Complete National Geographic” on DVD and a trip to Washington, D.C., for the national finals held May 22-24 at National Geographic's headquarters. Calista received $75 and Trevor received $50, as well as the DVD collection.

First prize in the national competition is a $25,000 college scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos Islands for an expedition aboard the National Geographic Endeavour. Second- and third-place gets $15,000 and $10,000 college scholarships.

The top 10 national finalists could be chosen to represent the U.S. at the international National Geographic World Championship in 2013 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

National Geographic started the National Geographic Bee in 1989 in response to the lack of geographic knowledge among U.S. students.

Reach reporter Jessica Holdman at 250-8261or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com.