Now, Ethan Stearley is awaiting test results to find out if he will have the chance to compete for a $25,000 scholarship.
"I competed as a sixth-grader, but got like eighth place," Stearley said. "I was great to get to the final round and come back. I went up against 12 of the best geography students in the school and made it."
Stearley said his opponent, eighth-grader Quinton Hayes, only missed the deciding question by a mispronunciation.
"I look at a lot of globes all the time and pay attention in geography class," Hayes said about his preparation for the competition, "but besides that, I didn't study. I like different countries, and I'd like to study abroad someday. Knowing I came in second in the entire school is pretty cool."
Stearley said the competition was definitely a close call.
"The answer to the question, 'What country is Timbuktu located in?' was Mali, but (Hayes) said Maui," Stearley said. "I took the test to qualify for the state round, and I am just waiting to hear back."
NCMS geography teacher Nathan Hopf said he expects to hear results by the middle of February.
"It's great that the students can compete and be recognized for their academic achievements," Hopf said. "(Stearley) may even win some money out of it."