WASHINGTON (AP) — Karan Menon knew his answer was right but wasn’t sure how to argue his case.

Contestants in the National Geographic Bee aren’t instructed on making challenges when what they’ve given is ruled a wrong answer. He raised his hand and hoped host Soledad O’Brien would notice.

O’Brien called on him. Karan, a 14-year-old eighth-grader from Edison, New Jersey, explained that his answer was correct.

The question: “The Mesabi Range contains a large deposit of what metal-bearing mineral?” O’Brien was looking for “iron ore.” Karan said “taconite,” which is a form of iron ore. After conferring for about five minutes, the judges gave him credit.

That point was just enough for Karan to avoid elimination. He cruised from there, getting every championship-round question right to become the 27th National Geographic Bee champion on Wednesday.

Despite back-to-back state wins for Omaha’s Brendan Pennington, the sixth-grader at Westside’s Prairie Lane Elementary did not advance past Monday’s preliminary round.

Iowa’s entrant, Patrick Taylor, did hang on until Wednesday’s finals, which will be broadcast Friday night on the National Geographic Channel. The 12-year-old is a seventh-grader at Northwest Junior High School in Coralville, a suburb of Iowa City. For making the finals, he won $500.

Menon won a $50,000 college scholarship, lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and a trip to the Galápagos Islands.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.