It took 28 rounds and several hours for a champion to emerge in the St Paul School district spelling bee on Saturday.
Thirty-eight students who had won spelling bees at their schools competed for a chance to go on to the regional finals.
From there they could go to the national level, following in the footsteps of five Minnesota students who made it that far last year.
Zophia Dadlez, a sixth-grader from L'Etoile du Nord French Immersion School, took first place. She secured her spot by spelling the word "apocalyptic."
"It was one of the words that I had looked at in my study words and it was just one of the ones that kind of stuck with me," Dadlez said. "And I had also known other words like apocalypse so it was pretty easy."
Eighth-grader William Yang of Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet School, came in second and will also go on to the regional bee.
Third place winner Elijah Armstrong, a fourth-grade student at EXPO for Excellence Elementary Magnet, is the alternate.