Pacific Trails Middle School student wins 48th annual San Diego County Spelling Bee

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A student at Pacific Trails Middle School in Carmel Valley won the 48th annual San Diego County Spelling Bee Thursday and will represent the region in the national event outside Washington, D.C.

Yash Hande beat out more than 100 other grade 6-8 students in the competition at the San Diego Hall of Champions.

The winning word was "sphacelated,” which means to become gangrenous.

The eighth-grader had just correctly spelled "blucher” — which refers to a shoe having the tongue and vamp cut in one piece and the quarters lapped over the vamp and laced together for closing.

Just a few moments earlier, another contestant had a chance to win the spelling bee but missed his championship word: "mamamu,” a Hawaiian word for a fish that inhabits the Pacific Ocean.

The competition was led by a new spelling bee master, Dr. Timothy Randell. He took over from David Hay, who retired in 2016 after 35 years.

Both are professors at the University of San Diego — Randell in practice of careers and internships in the Department of English. Hay, who will be on hand to assist Randell, is an adjunct research associate teaching Shakespeare and dramatic literature.

Ella Peters, a seventh-grader at Notre Dame Academy in Carmel Valley, won San Diego’s spelling bee last year, when the winning word was "phlegm.”

She correctly spelled two words in the national competition but failed to advance to the finals.

In 2012, Snigdha Nandipati of Francis Parker School in Linda Vista won the national spelling bee. Anurag Kashyap of Poway won seven years prior.

Categories: Local San Diego News