Snehal Choudhury, an eighth-grader from Jackson Memorial Middle School, won Saturday's 72nd Canton Repository Regional Final Spelling Bee after 26 rounds.

PLAIN TWP.  Snehal Choudhury of Jackson Memorial Middle School and Kimberly Christ of Tuscarawas Valley Middle School seemed unstoppable Saturday.

After 13 rounds, the two had outlasted 45 other spellers representing Stark, Carroll, Holmes and Tuscarawas counties during the 72nd Canton Repository Regional Final Spelling Bee, sponsored by Malone University.

It would take another 12 rounds to declare a winner at GlenOak High School as the girls breezed through diverse words such as blasé, spinet, waterzooi, paradigm, innocuous, narcissistic, arachnid, garibaldi and isolationist.

But, in Round 25, Christ, a seventh-grader, stumbled on the word “turbulence,” opening the door for Choudhury.

Choudhury, an eighth-grader, started to get excited when she heard pronouncer M.J. Albacete give her the word “sociable.”

She immediately knew the word. But she still asked the same three questions she had asked for every word: for the definition, the origin of the word and for the pronouncer to repeat it one more time.

Then, without hesitation, she began, “s-o-c-i-a-b-l-e” — and became this year’s regional final spelling bee champion.

Choudhury nowwill represent the region in the 91st Scripps National Spelling Bee, which will be held May 27 through June 1 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Maryland.

Besides the expenses-paid trip for her and a parent, Choudhury also will receive a Mint Proof Set in June 2018 from Jay Sugarman (Samuel Louis Sugarman Award); a subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online Dictionary; Brittanica Online Premium subscription; a watch from Julz by Alan Rodriguez; and a plaque for her school.

Following her win Saturday, Choudhury called the competition “exhilarating.”

“I was nervous because I didn’t know what word I was going to get, but you get this thrill just doing it,” she said.

Choudhury said she learned from last year’s regional final spelling bee when she missed the word “octopod.”

“That really taught me to prepare for words that I might not be expecting,” she said.

Another key difference this year was her confidence.

“This year, I thought I could do it,” she said. “You really have to believe in yourself in order to win, because if you don’t believe in yourself you won’t go anywhere. If you really want to do it, believe in it and make sure you have someone to support you because support is one of the greatest things you can have.”

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