8th grader wins 23rd Annual Monterey County Office of Education Spelling Bee for 2nd time...

This years winner also won last year

SALINAS, Calif. - Monterey County Office of Education 23rd annual Spelling Bee crowns champion after 23 rounds.

14 year old Paul Hamrick is now a two time champion of the Monterey County Spelling Bee. He and 60 other middle school students competed Saturday for a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May.

Hamrick says he is excited to go back to the East Coast to represent the County, "I'm happy to be going back."

But this was not a solo act. Paul gets a lot of help from his mom. ""I get quizzed by mom mom and she has spreadsheets on excel and then we do them and she goes through the whole list. Already I think I've been quizzed on more than 10,000 words." Paul says all those quizzes are what helped him get where he is today.

As for the judges table, there is a new face in the pronunciation seat this year, but he's no stranger to the competition. "My story began in 1998 when I came in as an 8th grader for the first and last year of eligibility for me, and I ended up winning the spelling bee here and helped represent Monterey county at Washington D.C. at the Scripps National Spelling Bee," says former champion Henry Cho Jr.

Cho says for all of the students looking to compete, studying is a huge part of preparation, but should not be the only one. "Definitely the study time is critical, and making sure you can speak in front of people would help. Because that's the other aspect, people think just the study time and everything with the roots and the affixes and being familiar with different languages and what they tend to do with their words because we get a lot of influence, but the public speaking part, being able to think under pressure can not be overstate," says Cho.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee will be held May 27th - June 1st, 2018. Good luck Paul!

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