After a tense final
round of competition lasting more than 15 minutes, Allison Grygar from St.
Michael’s School in Poway became the 45th U-T San Diego Countywide Spelling Bee
champion Tuesday by correctly spelling the word “gurgled.”
Grygar will now go on to
represent San Diego County at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National
Harbor, Md., in May.
There was the buzz of
excitement in the air as Grygar went against Christopher Ong of Pacific Ridge
School in Carlsbad during the final rounds. The two went back and forth with
words so many times that Spelling Bee Master Dr. David Hay briefly ran out of
new ones to give them.
The last back-and-forth
came after about four hours and six rounds of unusual and difficult-to-spell
words that knocked the other 89 contenders out of the competition, which took
place Tuesday at the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park.
“Gurgled” was one of the
more common words at the competition. Viewers probably heard quite a few words
that were new to them as the students tried to spell them.
Some of the odder words
included pileum, the top of the head of a bird; polyptoton, the rhetorical
repetition of a word in the same sentence; nisse, a friendly goblin of Scandinavian
folklore; and bronteon, a device used in ancient Greek and Roman theater to
make a thunder sound.
San Diego County has a
history of making a strong showing at the national level. The local winner in
2012, Francis Parker School student Snigdha Nandipati, won the Scripps National
Spelling Bee. In 2005, Anurag Kashyap, a student from Poway, was the national
“The Spelling Bee is one
of the most time-honored of all academic competitions,” said Nicole Shina, who
coordinates the Spelling Bee for the San Diego County Office of Education.
“It’s a nice reminder that even in a world where we’re all texting and
tweeting, spelling is important.”
The 45th Annual U-T San
Diego Countywide Spelling Bee was presented by San Diego County Credit Union in
partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education, 10News, San Diego
Hall of Champions, and Southwest Airlines.