MORENO VALLEY – After a grueling 29 rounds of competition at the 41st Riverside County Spelling Bee, the event ended the same way it has for the last two years in a row with Aisha Randhawa taking home the first-place trophy and earning a trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.
The seventh-grade student from Auburndale Intermediate School in the Corona-Norco Unified School District, correctly spelled “bulbul” (a medium size songbird) and “epigraphic” (inscriptions on buildings) to end the bee and become only the third, three-time consecutive winner in the 41-year history of the Riverside County Spelling Bee.
“It feels really good to win the third time,” Aisha said, noting that she was suffering from laryngitis for the last few days. “The competition was tough this year, and it was a long day. It represents a lot of hard work, and staying hydrated.”
Randhawa edged out Michael Mistica, an eighth grade student from St. Jeanne de Lestonnac School in Temecula, who stumbled on “babuina” (a type of primate).
“My record this year is the best yet,” said Mistica, who has competed five times at the county level. “I’ve never heard that word before. I thought it was some kind of animal.”
Faizan Niazi from Temecula Middle School in the Temecula Valley Unified School District finished third. Hope Edwards of San Jacinto Leadership Academy in the San Jacinto Unified School District was fourth in the field of 28 students.
Randhawa will compete at the 91st Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Maryland from May 27 through June 2, 2018.