There will be five Kyrene spellers advancing to the Regional Spelling Bee in February, but only one has won the district Spelling Bee three years in a row.

Hannah Miao from Kyrene Aprende Middle School was the last speller standing on Wednesday, Jan. 19 after successfully spelling “physique” and knocking off her opponent Prateek Pinisetti from Kyrene de las Brisas Elementary. Pinisetti misspelled “wagnerian” in the sixth round and Miao won for the third year in a row.

“I don’t really have a Spelling Bee secret,” Miao said. “I do a lot of studying on different word lists online. I knew just about every word (on Wednesday).”

Miao hopes to make her third straight State Spelling Bee. She finished in eight place in 2010 and seventh place in 2009.

Bobae Johnson from Altadeña Middle School finished third in the prior round after attempting “rupee.” Caleb Redshaw from Kyrene del Milenio Elementary finished on “permian” and Jessica Romero from Kyrene de la Colina Elementary rounded out the top five on “magnolia.”

The top five spellers will represent Kyrene in the Regional Spelling Bee, which takes place Feb. 18 at the Tempe Union High School District offices.

Twenty-three students representing their schools competed in the annual Spelling Bee at the Kyrene District office on Wednesday.

Round three ended when five students in a row misspelled their words. Pinisetti was the last speller of the round and automatically gained the fifth spot to advance to the regional. He successfully spelled “pestilent” to continue into the fourth round and ultimately finish in second place.

Ernie Crane, teacher at Kyrene del Sureno Elementary, Kelvin Inouye, principal of Kyrene de la Colina Elementary, and Marianne Lescher, principal at Kyrene de la Mariposa Elementary, were the three judges. Ernie Brodersen, principal from Akimel A-al Middle School, and Kelly Alexander, director of Community Education and Outreach Services, were the pronouncers for the event.

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