Jenks 9-year-old wins 2018 Scripps Green Country Regional Spelling Bee

OWASSO, Okla. -- Over five hours and more than 300 words later, we have a new 2018 Scripps Green Country Regional Spelling Bee Champion.

Nearly 50 kids went head to head for the first place spot for Nationals.

"I didn't know if I was going to win be cause there’s a lot of competition," said Sai Lakkimsetti, who came in first place.

The 9-year-old represented Southeast Elementary in Jenks.

Lakkimsetti was in the finals with the defending champion, 6-year-old Edith Fuller.

Last year he placed second behind Fuller who became the youngest person to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. This year it was a different story.

"It's partly because of a lesson last year not to hurry that’s how I got maunder wrong, like a slip of my tongue and I said 'e'," said Lakkimsetti.

Lakkimsetti studied for months for the competition, he also had some help from a champion.

"2017 the Scripps National Spelling Bee champion who is Ananya Vinay, she coached me through on Sundays," said Lakkimsetti.

He took the first place spot calm, cool, and collected on stage, but still nervous.

"I’m super sweaty, too," said Lakkimsetti.

Fuller came in second, and in a rare outcome there was a five-way tie for third.

"If it’s a tie between two that’s a bit easier to work out but with five of them that’s almost a whole new spelling bee," said Mark Griffin, Spelling Bee Judge.

Lakkimsetti will be heading to nationals in Washington D.C. in May.

First place:
Sai Lakkimsetti, Jenks Southeast Elementary School, 3rd Grade

Second place:
Edith Fuller, Fuller Family Homeschool, 1st Grade

Third place:
Matthew Gogol, Bartlesville Central Middle School, 6th grade
Logan Rhyne, Fort Gibson Middle School, 8th grade
Sophia Guy, Jenks Middle School, 8th grade
Maryam Arastu, Kazi Homeschool, 8th grade
Avery Wise, Monte Cassino, 7th grade


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