Olivia Kobernik, a sixth grader at Fremont Middle School, was the winner of the 42nd annual Douglas County Spelling Bee, sponsored by The News-Review, on Saturday.
She correctly spelled “fantastically” to win the contest after spelling “abbreviation,” which had been missed by the second-place contestant.
Hurrsh Misttry, an eighth grader at Coffenberry Middle School, came in second. Teghan Riley, a seventh grader at Sutherlin Middle School, came in third, and Jeshurun Kumar, a fifth grader at Winchester Elementary School, came in fourth.
Twenty-two spellers from grades 5 through 8 from around Douglas County competed in the first round, which included words previously published in The News-Review such as “espionage,” “jurimetrician” and “rheumatism.”
The contestants sat attentively, and many nervously, while others spelled. Occasionally while seated, the spellers grinned at the realization that they dodged a difficult word. Some could be seen mouthing the letters of the words others were spelling in front of them or writing them in their hand with an invisible pencil.
After spelling a word and still standing at the microphone, they paused with doubt, or immediately returned to their seat, knowing they nailed it.
The crowd laughed with approval after the contestants correctly spelled particularly difficult words such as “authoritarianism,” which was correctly spelled by Teaghan.
After an hour of spelling the previously published words, the contestants had dwindled to the final four, who moved on to the second round of previously unpublished words.
It took about ten minutes of spelling to get to the final two contestants. Olivia won on the seventh word between the final two spellers.
Cara and Jeffery Kobernik, Olivia’s parents, were there to embrace their daughter after her win.
“We’re so proud,” Cara said.
Jeffery said they made sure Olivia set aside time to practice. But Olivia had to rely on skill as she encountered previously unpublished words in the second round.
“We can’t hardly keep a book out of her hands,” Jeffrey said.
Olivia said she wasn’t nervous, and that spelling comes easy to her because she’s always reading. She was ready to make up for last year’s competition when she was knocked out by the word “possessed.” She said she wouldn’t make the mistake of spelling it with only three S’s.
She was excited to win a laptop, thumb drive, printer, neoprene sleeve for the laptop, wireless mouse and family membership to Wildlife Safari in Winston.
“It feels really awesome,” she said.