Reading, experience propel 12-year-old to win regional spelling bee


(Allison Lee Isley/Journal)

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Sam Nystrom lasted 11 rounds and bested 27 other spellers to be crowned the regional spelling bee winner Sunday afternoon.

“When I won, I thought, ‘Well, I did not expect this,’” Nystrom, 12, said.

After being told he was the winner, the Watauga County Schools sixth-grader’s eyes got large and he grinned. Nystrom then shook hands with Praneethreddy Devireddy, the fourth-grader from Iredell-Statesville Schools who came in second place when he misspelled, “marten.” Devireddy won the regional bee last year.

Nystrom won on the word, “tilth,” after asking for the language of origin and the definition. He previously correctly spelled the word “wrought,” to secure his victory. He now goes on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., at the end of May.

The 79th annual Winston-Salem Journal Regional Spelling Bee included third- through eighth-graders from Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Patrick, Person, Stokes, Surry, Watagua, Wilkes and Yadkin counties.

Fifth-grader Alexis Reel of Davidson County Schools placed third in the spelling bee.

Some of the contenders had to spell, “finesse,” “precocious,” “backstein,” “azimuth,” “sternutation” and “liquesce,” to name a few.

Read more in the Winston-Salem Journal.

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