Teen wins state geographic bee

ALDEN SAVOCA, 14, sits at his home surrounded by a few of his many atlases. His relentless in-depth studying of geography paid off when he claimed first place at the Colorado Geographic Bee on Friday.

Chiba and Nagoya, two of the largest ports in the world in terms of tonnage, are located in which country?

Answer that question right, and you may be able to keep up with 14-year-old geography whiz Alden Savoca. The correct answer, Japan, won Alden first place at the Colorado Geographic Bee on Friday at the University of Denver.

It also won him a ticket to the national competition in Washington, D.C., in May, and a two-year scholarship to the University of Denver.

He contained his excitement until after he left the competition.

“I was surprised when we were in there. I wasn’t expecting to win,” Alden said.

Alden lives near De Beque, where he is home-schooled with his brothers and sister. It was his second year participating in the geography bee. In 2008 he tied for 13th place.

He estimated he spent eight hours a week of his free time studying his atlases and filling out blank maps from memory to prepare for the competition.

“The kind of geography I’m studying we don’t do in normal school,” Alden said.

A plastic tub contains most of his study aids, including his favorite, the National Geographic Visual Atlas of the World. His favorite region to research is Asia, for the weird names, such as the Toba Kakar mountain range in Pakistan.

He attributes his photographic memory to his father, Dan Savoca.

“He made his own goal to win it this year,” Dan Savoca said, adding he never had to remind his son to study.

One hundred students participated in the state final Friday. Of the 10 who made it to the finals, Alden was the only one from the Western Slope.


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