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N.J. BOY WINS NATIONAL BEE IN GEOGRAPHY

National Geography Bee champion Seyi Fayanju took a fancy to maps at age 3. He flips through encyclopedias to learn about the globe, and his classmates drill him at lunch to keep his mind limber.

The 12-year-old from Verona, N.J., American-born son of Nigerian immigrants, didn't miss a question in this year's bee and walked away with a $25,000 scholarship. In Wednesday's championship round, he beat Ryan Bean, 14, of Augusta, Maine.The first question in that round was: "Name the 16th-century Flemish geographer who designed a map projection for use in navigation and who is credited with producing the first collection of maps called an atlas."

Ryan, an eighth-grader at Buker Middle School, left his answer card blank.

Seyi correctly answered Mercator.

The second question was: "Name the Portuguese territory on the east coast of Asia that is scheduled to revert to Chinese control in 1999."

They both correctly answered Macau.

The third question was a cinch for Seyi: "Name the European co-principality whose heads of state are the president of France and the bishop of Urgel."

He correctly answered Andorra - a mountain republic in the Pyrenees range between France and Spain. Ryan incorrectly answered Monaco, an independent principality on the Mediterranean surrounded by France, and Seyi won the bee.