2022 Arizona Spelling Bee state championship crowns new winner

Aliyah Alpert from Yavapai County took home the gold on Saturday afternoon.
Aliyah Alpert from Yavapai County took home the gold on Saturday afternoon.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Mar. 19, 2022 at 7:52 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- There is a new spelling bee champion in Arizona after 27 students from across the state competed at the state championship in Phoenix. Aliyah Alpert from Yavapai County took home the gold on Saturday afternoon.

Alpert, a sixth-grader, beat out 26 other kids to win the 2022 Arizona Spelling Bee. Alpert correctly spelled the word “foudroyant” in the 29th round to win the competition. Alpert said she wants to be the best because she has big goals, even at a young age. “I want to be a vet, and you need to know how to spell the name of the prescription,” Alpert explained.

The champion said the feeling is unlike any other, knowing she made it so far. “It’s amazing just that feeling of spelling a word right. Knowing you studied enough to get here, that’s just amazing,” she said.

The competition featured the best 4th to 8th graders in the state. The kids had to spell high-school-level words and above. While they don’t use the words in everyday conversation, others say the words come in handy. “I use them in Scrabble,” one competitor said.

Some had unconventional methods of studying tough words, including reading complex material for practice. “I study pretty much every day, and I read everything. My mom’s medicine books,” said one kid.

The 11-year-olds cracked jokes before the competition, but plenty of pressure was mounting before the competition. “Nervous, yes? First time here,” one child said. Many were preparing for their big moment backstage, practicing tricky words before going out in front of the audience. “I was so nervous I was going to pee my pants, and I was just so nervous, but when it was done, I was calmer cause hey, I got this,” said another child.

Srihaas Ghanta took home the silver, and Vibhav Athreya took the bronze. As for Alpert, she will go on to represent Arizona as the official State Champion in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.