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Published April 20, 2011, 05:21 PM

Maddock, ND, Victim of Texas Plane Crash Was Geography Whiz

A North Dakota native who was killed in a plane crash in Texas was known during his school years as a geography genius.

By: Associated Press,

MADDOCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota native who was killed in a plane crash in Texas was known during his school years as a geography genius.

John Rice of Maddock, who was homeschooled, won the North Dakota geography bee from 2000-2002 and did well in the national competition. In 2003, he and teenagers from Tennessee and North Carolina won the National Geographic World Championship. Rice also achieved national honors in FFA.

Maddock vocational agriculture teacher Gary Wald tells The Bismarck Tribune that Rice had excellent character and led by example. He went on to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The 24-year-old Rice and 23-year-old Peter Sohms of Londonderry, N.H., died this week when their plane crashed while they were sightseeing a West Texas wildfire.

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