Local student takes Ga. statewide spelling bee title

Sai Lakkimsetti
Sai Lakkimsetti(Contributed)
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 2:32 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MARTINEZ, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A middle school student from Columbia County is Georgia’s spelling bee champion.

Sai Lakkimsetti, an eighth-grader at Stallings Island Middle School in Martinez, beat out all other contestants from across the state.

He’ll go on to represent Georgia at the national spelling bee from May 28 through June 2 in Maryland along with runner-up from Fayette County.

Sai emerged as the winner after more than 100 words over 20 rounds.

In the 20th round, Matthew received the word “palmyra” but mispelled it. 

Sai then was given the word “spumoni,” which he spelled correctly and under the rules for the final two spellers, had to then spell an additional word correctly. That word was “nyctalopia,” which he slowly took his time to spell correctly and was crowned the state champion.

Sai said he’s really excited and grateful for all of his support and to be in this position. And when asked about the competition, he said, “I’ll really need to ramp up my preparation.”

Matthew, for his part, said he will have to study very hard to succeed at nationals, but “it’s probably going to be fun and it will just be great to be there.”

Sai, in addition to a first place trophy and an all-expense0paid trip to the national championship and $1,000, took home an iPad Mini, a Kindle, an online subscription dictionary, a one-year online encyclopedia subscription, a $100 U.S. Savings Bond and a champion lapel pin.

Another local student was competing at the state level: 12-year-old Ayanna Khiani, a seventh-grader at Augusta Prep Day School.