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Bedford teen helps U.S. team win gold in geography bee

BEDFORD — A Bedford teen helped a U.S. team win gold at the 11th National Geographic World Championships, held Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Neelam Sandhu, 14, who will be a high school freshman in the fall, was a top finisher at the National Geographic Bee held in May in Washington, giving her the chance to attend the world finals.

“I’m not really expecting anything this time,” she said before the national competition. “Whatever happens, happens. I’m just really glad to be here.”

The U.S. team edged out second-place Canada for the first place world title on Wednesday.

The United States, Canada and India qualified for the final round after posting the highest combined scores from a preliminary competition held Sunday, which included a scavenger hunt tour of St. Petersburg, and a written test held Monday.

Sandhu’s teammates were Gopi Ramanathan, 15, of Sartell, Minn.; and Asha Jain, 13, of Minocqua, Wisc.

India finished third, while Russia, last year’s winner, finished fourth. The finals were moderated by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek.