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Winners crowned at annual Sutter County Spelling Bee
These were some of the words that eliminated students during the 31st Annual Sutter County Spelling Bee:
Round 1: February
Round 2: rendezvous
Round 3: quadrilateral
Round 4: mistletoe
Round 5: renaissance
Round 6: surrogate
Going longer and longer into the night, the 31st annual Sutter County Spelling Bee wrapped up after nearly 2 1⁄2 hours Wednesday night with the winning words "pistachio" and "larynx."
The first-place winner was sixth-grader Jessa Maheras of Riverbend Elementary School, who had gone back and forth with a laundry list of words with the second-place winner before taking the win.
Maheras and second-place winner Daniel Wankmuller of St. Isidore's will move on to the California State Elementary Spelling Bee Championship in Stockton on April 20.
The third-place winner, sixth-grader Mikayla Thompson of Andros Karperos School, will also go to Stockton as an alternate.
There were 58 students signed up, but only 51 showed up. The students were from 30 schools in Sutter County, including private and charter schools, in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades.
The confident students donned yellow lanyards and laminated numbers as they waited for words. Parents and friends packed Boyd Hall at Yuba City's Feather River Academy. Some used notebooks to jot down the words, while others asked for repeated words.
Eight students were eliminated in round one. Word difficulty ramped up for round two. By round three, there were 24 contestants.
Fourteen students remained for round four, and by round seven there were only three people left.
Maheras and Wankmuller faltered on words like "gimmicky," "gesundheit" and "blitzkrieg," as the finale went on for 11 words before a short break.
Carol Myers, an administrative secretary with the Sutter County Superintendent of Schools Office, said the number of contestants has been as low as 46, and that the number has fluctuated over the years.
CONTACT Laura van der Meer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4771. Find her on Facebook at /ADlvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADlvandermeer.