To win the bee, a speller needs to be the only one to correctly spell a word in a round, then spell one extra word correctly.
The finalists spelled off for numerous rounds before seventh grader Ryan Christensen emerged as the victor, rhythmically pounding out his winning words, “corpuscle and “Eocene,” in a loud, clear voice.
Seventh grader Alexa Lewis came in second and sixth grader Jackson Long placed third. Eighth graders Garret Ruhl and Eli Swets were first and second alternates, respectively.
The winner’s father, Jon Christensen, said it was “just awesome” to see his son take the top prize in the bee.
“Some of that was because we prepared but a lot of it was just natural spelling ability,” he said. “He’s a very methodical person.”
His son had a different story, though.
“I’m kind of feeling lucky,” Christensen said. “I was thinking I would end up somewhere in the fiftieth percentile or something because I didn’t really study.”
“You did, too,” his dad said.
“I must have gotten the easy words,” Christensen added. “I didn’t know all of them, but I just took a crack at it.”
Before he went to collect his prizes, the seventh grader ran back to add one more statement.
“I also want to say that I’m representing people on the spectrum,” Christensen said. “They really can do great things.”