April 04, 2001 11:00 pm

UNION Union eighth-grader Bren Sheehy will travel more than 300 miles Friday so that he can span the world.

Bren, 13, will travel to Western Oregon University in Monmouth to compete in Fridays State Geography Bee.

Bren is just one of 100 students in the state to qualify for the State Geography Bee. He is one of five students representing Eastern Oregon.

He has a great knowledge of geography and world relationships, said Union High School social studies teacher Jay Thomas.

Bren is the son of John and Sandy Sheehy.

To qualify, Bren first won the geography competition for his school district.

Bren then had to take a 70-question test given to all school or school district geography bee winners in the state. The students with the top 100 scores in the state qualified for Fridays bee. The event is open to students in grades 4-8.

Students had to do much more than answer questions about place names on their qualifying test. For example, nine questions related to a contour map enclosed in the test


Thomas is encouraging Bren to study weather terminology in preparation for the State Geography Bee. Past tests have included questions about weather .

Geography is much more than maps and place names. It is a lot broader than that, Thomas said.

Geography even includes space. For example, one question on this years state qualifying test was, What is the name of the worlds first artificial satellite, launched in 1957?

The answer? Sputnik.

Test your knowledge

Questions posed in the 2000 geography bee at school, state and national competitions included questions such as:

(A) The worlds largest nickel-producing district lies north of Georgian Bay in which Canadian province?

(B) Which country in the Caucasus region shares its name with a U.S. state?

(C) During which month does Cape Town, South Africa, experience the day of the year with the longest period of


See answers below.

The National Geographic Society developed the National Geography Bee in 1989 in response to a concern about a lack of geographic knowledge among U.S. youth.

The winner of Fridays State Geography Bee will qualify for the National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C.,

May 23. Jeopardy! quiz show host Alex Trebek will moderate the national competition.

Answers: (A) Ontario. (B) Georgia. (C) December.