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PHOENIX -- A 12-year-old from Phoenix sure hopes he knows his way around the world. If he does, he'll be the winner of the National Geographic Bee that begins Monday in Washington.

Ari Mehta, a sixth-grader at Desert Cove Elementary School, has been memorizing places since he was 3, when his dad taught him the state capitals. That knack has sent him, along with 53 other kids, to the 26th annual contest.

They're competing for the title, a college scholarship and trip to the Galapagos. Top prize is worth $50,000. Runners-up will earn scholarships valued at $25,000 and $10,000.

Mehta won the state Bee last month at Arizona State University.

The top 10 finishers in Monday's preliminary round move on to Wednesday's finals.,

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