Pacific Trails Middle School student Yash Hande correctly spelled “sphacelated” to win the 48th annual San Diego Union-Tribune Countywide Spelling Bee.
“Sphacelated,” which means affected by, characterized by, or likened to gangrene continues the theme of winning words that would make any middle schooler cringe. “Phlegm” was the winning 2016 word.
Eighth-grader Hande will now go on to represent San Diego County at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Md., in May.
There was the buzz of excitement in the air as only three spellers remained in round five at about 12:45 p.m., nearly fours hours into the competition and after 93 other students “spelled...