Know where you are? If not, 13-year-old Max Sugarman of Issaquah probably does. Congratulations to the seventh-grader from Pine Lake Middle...

KNOW where you are?

If not, 13-year-old Max Sugarman of Issaquah probably does.

Congratulations to the seventh-grader from Pine Lake Middle School in Sammamish, who returned to the state this week after placing sixth in the National Geographic Bee finals in Washington, D.C. Sugarman won over geography whizzes and neophytes when he won the state competition on April 1. Then it was on to the nationals, where Sugarman successfully competed against 55 contestants from around the country for 10 finalist slots.

In the final round of the competition in the nation’s capital, Sugarman correctly answered eight of 10 questions posed by moderator and TV game-show host Alex Trebek. But he was stumped, and eliminated, when he couldn’t name the capital city that is protected by barriers at Woolwich against storm surges from the North Sea. Sugarman answered Amsterdam. The correct answer is London.

The winning question: “Lake Gatun, an artificial lake that constitutes part of the Panama Canal system, was creating by damming which river?” It was successfully answered by Minnesota student Nathan Cornelius, who won a $25,000 scholarship for first prize.

Only one person can win a competition. But everyone else who makes it through round after round, giving their best and hanging in there, is a winner of a different sort. They are true competitors.

This page tips its hat to Max Sugarman, the boy his friends call “The Walking Atlas.”

(The winning answer: The Chagres River.)