CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- You could call Elizabeth Koh a spelling bee "recidivist."
That word, and "glockenspiel," helped the Raleigh County eighth-grader claim her second Gazette-Mail Regional Spelling Bee championship.
Elizabeth beat out 39 spellers at the competition, held at Capital High School on Saturday. She now will go on to represent the Gazette-Mail at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., held in May.
This bee was co-sponsored by the West Virginia Housing Development Fund and Lumos Networks.
The early rounds were brutal: 15 spellers dropped out in round two, six left the competition in round four, and seven spelled out in round five.
By round six, only eight spellers remained.
Tough words like "vaquero" and "eiderdown" whittled down the field even further, leaving just four spellers to compete in round 10: Koh, Lauren Coccari of Sissonville Middle School, Kaitlyn Johnson of Gilbert Middle in Mingo County and Katelyn Sanders, a student at Oceana Middle School in Wyoming County.
Sanders misspelled "trepak" in round twelve. Coccari left the competition two rounds later when she added an "s" to "pernicious."
Her elimination left only Johnson and Koh in the bee. The pair went toe-to-toe for five rounds until Johnson fumbled on "kitsch," leaving out that elusive "s."
According to bee rules, when only two spellers remain and one misspells a word, the last remaining speller must spell another word correctly to become the champion. Otherwise, the fallen speller reenters the competition.
After correctly spelling "recidivist," Koh then spelled "glockenspiel" to cement her victory.
"I just came here to do my best, like I always try to do," she said after the bee.
"I think a spelling bee's difficult every time. When you're nervous, it's even more difficult," she said.
Her mother, Rosemary, smiled ear to ear as her youngest daughter received the Gazette-Mail Regional Bee trophy for a second time.