Topeka An 11-year-old Pittsburg girl, Nina Mathew, is this year's All-Kansas Spelling Bee champion.
Nina, who won the contest Saturday in Topeka, is the first Crawford County speller to claim the state title in 20 years.
Nina, a sixth-grader at Pittsburg Middle School, earned the right to represent Kansas in the finals of the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in late May.
Erin Keeley, who lives near Manhattan, was the runner-up. Erin, who is home-schooled, is a seventh-grader.
Erin omitted both letters in the second syllable in "rhododendron" in the 16th round Saturday. Nina corrected her spelling and then confidently spelled "lemur" to clinch the title.
Nina's father, Boban Mathew, an oncologist at Mount Carmel Regional Medical Center in Pittsburg, said Nina was born about a year after he and his wife immigrated to the United States from Kerala, India.
Some of the words that Nina spelled on the way to victory Saturday included "paraphernalia," "analgesic," "osprey," "okapi," "trousseau," "synchronize," "salve" and "clairvoyant."
Third place went to Stuart Warkentin, 14, of Concordia, who improved on his 32nd-place finish in the state contest last year.
The All-Kansas Bee was presented by The Topeka Capital-Journal for the 50th consecutive year and sponsored this year by St. Francis Health Center.