The winners of this year’s Merced County Spelling Bee hail from Merced and Los Banos.
Cruickshank Middle School seventh grader Nicole Nguyen took the top spot in the junior high spelling bee, while Westside Elementary fourth grader Harneet Sandhu won the elementary school contest, according to a news release.
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Nicole won after spelling the word “phyllophagous” correctly during Thursday’s junior high contest at the Merced County Office of Education. The day before, Harneet was victorious at Atwater Valley Community School when the remaining spellers were knocked out by the word “ecstasy.”
Forty-six elementary schools and 17 junior high and middle schools sent a total of 126 students to the competitions, according to the release.
In the junior high competition, second place went to fellow Cruickshank Middle School eighth grader Luke Almeada and third place was awarded to Samika Judge, a seventh grader at Los Banos Junior High, the release states.
Harneet was joined on the podium by second place winner Arvin Judge, a fifth grader at R.M. Miano Elementary, and Winton Middle School sixth grader Mariah Dhillon in third place, according to the release.
The first and second place winners of each competition will move on to the state championships. The elementary contest will be hosted by the San Joaquin County of Education. The junior high spelling bee is being held by the Marin County Office of Education.