Reece Berens won the Hillsboro Middle School spelling bee on Thursday to advance to the Marion County round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Second-place winner Elli Weisbeck and third-place winner Hannah Funk will join him at the county round Feb. 8 at USD 408 Performing Arts Center in Marion.
The HMS spelling bee had 12 contestants who spelled their way through a variety of words, including “quarrel,” “fajitas,” and “stratosphere.” Reece won first place by successfully spelling “lullaby.”
With the championship on the line, he was confident as soon as he heard his final word.
“Once I heard it, I’m pretty familiar with it, so I knew how to spell it,” Reece said.