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Santa Sophia Academy student crowned winner of countywide spelling bee

Christian Antonio Santa Sophia Academy
Posted at 4:10 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 15:11:13-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A student at Santa Sophia Academy in Spring Valley won the 51st annual San Diego Union-Tribune Countywide Spelling Bee Wednesday by correctly spelling "huipil."

Christian Antonio won the event after 13 rounds and was one of the 37 students from grades 6 to 8 from public and independent schools throughout San Diego County participated.

“I want to thank my family for supporting me and my school for supporting me,” Antonio said after the event. “I’m glad my hard work paid off.”

Instead of an in-person contest, the spelling bee was held virtually on a Zoom call.

Antonio will represent San Diego County in the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando on July 8.

RELATED: Scripps Spelling Bee final moved to July, to be held in-person

He will also receive The Samuel Louis Sugarman Award and a one-year subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online, the Scripps National Spelling Bee's official dictionary.

The second-place finalist, Aron Ekubaselase, of Preuss School, earned the role of alternate after three spell-off rounds with Antonio.

In 2020, the local bee was canceled along with the national competition because of the pandemic, marking the first time since World War II the national event was called off.