For the first time in the brief five-year history of the Douglas Unified School District’s Spelling Bee, the district champion is not a student from Ray Borane Middle School.

Andrew Estrada, a seventh grader at Paul Huber Middle School and the son of Eddie and Anissa Estrada of Douglas, is the new DUSD Spelling Bee champion, beating out 29 other spellers from the district this past Friday evening in the DHS Auditorium.

Anthony Sarinana, a fifth grader at Joe Carlson Elementary, came in second.

Both students advance to the 2020 Cochise County Spelling Bee which will be held on Saturday, February 22 at the First Baptist Christian Academy, located at 1447 South Seventh Street in Sierra Vista. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. The competition will begin at 10 a.m.

After Sarinana misspelled “caravan” in the eighth round, Estrada correctly spelled “flabbergast” to win the round. He then correctly spelled “arborio” to win the spelling bee.

Forty-seven spellers from Clawson, Faras, Joe Carlson and Sarah Marley Elementary, as well as the two junior highs were invited to compete in the DUSD Spelling Bee, 30 of which showed up.

Following an opening practice round, eight students were eliminated in the first round and 10 more were knocked out in the second. When the fourth round began, eight spellers remained, of which six were eliminated, leaving Estrada and Sarinana. The two spellers traded words for three more rounds, before Estrada won it in the eighth.

For both Estrada and Sarinana, this was their second time competing in the district spelling bee.

Estrada said he’s excited to have won the spelling bee and is looking forward to going on to the county competition.

He said he studied his words an average of an hour a day during the holiday break in order to get ready for the district bee.

When asked what was the most stressful part of the competition, he said it was seeing all the other spellers at the start.

“I knew it was going to be tough,” he said. “It was more nerve wracking than it was hard.”

He said the most challenging word for him of the bee was “flabbergast.”

Anthony stated he was okay with second place and he’s also excited about going on to the next level. He said the hardest word of the competition for him was spelling the word “therapy.”

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