WINSTON — “S-a-b-o-t-a-g-e.” With the correct spelling of this last word, Marin Gray, 13, won the 41st annual Douglas County Spelling Bee.
With words like “iniquity,” “stirrup,” and “conqueror,” 21 students in grade levels five through eight competed to spell the most words correctly at the event Saturday at Wildlife Safari in Winston.
While Gray came in first place, Triston Rutan was the first runner up and Hurrsh Misttry was the second runner up.
Gray, an eighth-grade student at JoLane Middle School, has participated in this spelling bee every year since fifth grade, and in other spelling bees since the third grade.
This year she took home a printer, laptop, pass to Wildlife Safari and a trophy as the grand prize.
“I did most of my studying in the car this morning so I wasn’t expecting to win, but it was fun,” Gray said. Gray was also named Miss Douglas County Outstanding Teen this year.
Her platform in the Miss Douglas County Scholarship program is building respect and value for everyone, an anti-bullying campaign. She said when students have a connection to something, like academics or participating in a spelling bee, they are less likely to become bullies or victims of bullying.
Syara Oren, a fifth-grade student at Winchester Elementary School, also competed in the Douglas County Spelling Bee, which is sponsored by The News-Review.
“It was cool and I was really nervous, but I think I did really well,” Oren said. Some of the words she got to spell were “monolith,” “applaud” and “tariff.”
She said she prepared for the contest by reading over the words, spelling them to herself, and sometimes working with someone else to check that she got the words right.
Her family members came out to Wildlife Safari to cheer her on and support her.
“You did a great job, Syara, I’m proud of you,” her sister Lola Oren said.
Oren said she plans to participate in next year’s spelling bee too.
After the spelling bee, the participants were given trophies and treated to cake in the event center, where Wildlife Safari staff introduced them to a red-tailed boa constrictor and a California desert tortoise.