"I was really surprised," Stearley, who won the NCMS competition in January, said. "I thought I did well, but I didn't know how I'd measure up to everyone else."
Stearley received an 80 percent on the 70-question test, which qualifies him to compete in the state competition at Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI), Friday, March 30, at approximately 11:30 a.m.
Ethan said his parents, Sam Stearley and Jennifer Ross, were surprised at the results too, but they were also very proud.
Stearley said some portions of the state test were more challenging than others.
"There was a part of the test where I had to look at a map of Texas and explain which roads to take to get from point A to point B," Stearley explained. "Some of them branch off and split up into two different roads and you have to decide which one to take."
Stearley has been studying to prepare himself for the state competition.
"I've been practicing every day by taking the 10-question quiz on the National Geographic website and studying for Geography Bowl after school on Tuesdays," Stearley said.
He added NCMS Geography teacher Nathan Hopf has been really supportive and encouraging during Geography Bowl practice.
"He is really excited about this," Hopf said. "If you see Ethan, give him some geography tips, but make sure they are correct, because the winner of the state round goes to Washington, D.C., to compete in the National Competition moderated by Alex Trebek."
If Ethan advances to the national round, he will have an opportunity to win a $25,000 scholarship.
"North Clay is very proud of him," NCMS Principal Jeffery Allen said. "He'll be an outstanding representative for our school at the state competition."