A Pinewood Prep eighth-grader's quest to conquer the National Geographic Bee came to an end Wednesday.

Krish Patel, 14, of Summerville, competed as part of the top 10 at the bee at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Akhil Rekulapelli, 13, of Dulles, Va., took top honors at the 26th annual event. The fourth place finisher last year, he is the first student from Virginia to win the competition. He gets a $50,000 college scholarship, lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and a trip for two to the Galápagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour.

The winning question was: The discovery of a major shale oil deposit in the Vaca Muerta formation in 2010 has led to an expansion of oil drilling in the Neuquén province in what country? Answer: Argentina.

Second place and a $25,000 college scholarship went to Ameya Mujumdar, 11, from Florida, and Tuvya Bergson-Michelson, 13, of California placed third and received a $10,000 scholarship.

The field was cut from 54 state and territory winners to 10 finalists during a competition on Monday. Patel had one of nine perfect scores in that round.

Patel, who was competing for the fourth consecutive year, won $500. This is his last year of eligibility for the event.

More than 4 million students took part in the bee, which is sponsored by Google.

National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD will air the final round at 7 p.m. Thursday. It will be aired later on public television stations. Check local television listings for dates and times.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or @brindge on Twitter.