St. Michael's School student wins U-T San Diego Countywide Spelling Bee

SAN DIEGO - A St. Michael's School student will represent San Diego County at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Allison Grygar won the 45th annual U-T San Diego Countywide Spelling Bee on Tuesday by correctly spelling the word "gurgled."

Ninety-two students in the 7th or 8th grade competed in the Spelling Bee, which was held at the San Diego County Hall of Champions and lasted for more than four hours.

Bennett Miller, who represented the Preuss School, was surprised and thrilled every time he nailed it. During a break, he shared what was going through his mind.

“Fear and doubt of my own ability,” he said.

Some in the audience seemed to be just as nervous as the contestants, including Bennett's mom, Akemi.

“I am … almost faint,” she said.

10News asked Bennett what it would be like to win and go all the way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

“I would think, oh my gosh,” he said. “I would honestly just faint of happiness and surprise.”

“So you get that from your mom … the whole fainting thing,” said 10News reporter Itica Milanes.

“It runs in our family,” Bennett said.

Then, in round four, Bennett's run came to an end.

“I still feel proud of myself for being here,” he said.

Four grueling hours later, it was down to Christopher Ong and Allison Grygar. They did so well the judges ran out of words and had to call for a break.

Finally, it came down to the word “gurgled,” which Allison correctly spelled.

“I couldn't even breathe for a second,” she said. “I've had people tell me I could do it but I never thought it could be me.”

Allison will receive an all-expense paid trip to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee May 27-29 in National Harbor, Md. The competition is expected to be aired on ESPN.

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