WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Two Williams Elementary-Middle School (WEMS) students out-spelled their classmates to earn spots in the Coconino County Spelling Bee Feb. 23 in Flagstaff.
Seventh-grader Rylie Heap won the Williams Middle School spelling bee and fifth-grader Isaiah Quiriarte won the Williams Elementary School spelling bee.
Both students had competed in WEMS spelling bees in the past.
The students were pleased to win.
"I was really glad," Isaiah said.
"I was just relieved," she said. "I have stage fright, so it's hard getting up there."
After winning the WEMS spelling bees, the two students advanced to the Coconino County Spelling Bee, where as many as 24 spellers from public, charter, private and home instructed schools competed.
Isaiah was eliminated in the first round and Rylie was eliminated in the fourth or fifth round of the county spelling bee.
Rylie had competed in the county spelling bee a few years ago. Last time, she got to the second round. Her goal this year was to make it to the third round.
Both students said they were excited but nervous to be competing at the county level.
To prepare for the county spelling bee, Isaiah said he studied words from the dictionary.
Rylie said she studied a packet she got from the school's spelling bee coordinator, Mary Mays.
"It's a whole bunch of words and it's sorted out in origin," Rylie said, adding that her brother helped her study.
Mays said she was proud of the students for making it to the county spelling bee.
"I think it's an accomplishment they were able to win the spelling bee here," she said.
The winner of the Coconino County Spelling Bee will compete in the Arizona Educational Foundation State Spelling Bee on March 23 along with 26 other spellers at the Arizona PBS Studios on the Arizona State University campus.
The winner of the state spelling bee will represent Arizona at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. from May 26 to June 1.