A year of experience translated many ways for Jack Maglalang at Wednesday's 29th annual California Central Valley Spelling Bee.
The Orangevale sixth-grader appeared calm, taking his time on words he was unsure of, particularly the obscure word "obduced."
After the group of 57 students was whittled down to two, Maglalang correctly spelled "olid" and "toadyism" for the win at the Scottish Rite Center in Sacramento.
Eighth-grader Savitri Asokan of Olympus Junior High in Placer County placed second.
Last year, during his first spelling bee competition, Maglalang blushed on stage as he declined an acceptance speech after the trophy ceremony.
This year, Maglalang leaned into the microphone and thanked his parents. And then he thanked his teacher, classmates and the event's sponsor, The Bee.
"The experience he had last year helped him a lot," said Maglalang's mother, Anna. "He began studying in August."
Maglalang, who attends Pershing Elementary School in Orangevale, competed against the top spellers in third through eighth grades from nine counties. He now moves on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May.
Maglalang said he is hoping to make the national semifinals this year. He was not among the 41 kids to move on in last year's main event, which is covered live on ESPN.
"The words there are a lot harder," said Maglalang, who said spelling well is not about memorizing a list of words.
"I learned words have different roots and the definition helps you figure out those roots," he said. "I was a little more nervous this year. I didn't want to rush it and make a mistake."
Maglalang said he recognized every word he was given at the competition except for "obduced" which means to cover with.
"It was kind of a guess," he said. "I asked the definition and etymology and took an educated guess."
Seventh-grader Steven Abramowitz of Granite Oaks Middle School in Rocklin shook his head over the word he missed: "qwerty."
Most keyboards' top row of letters spell that word: q-w-e-r-t-y.
"I knew it," said Abramowitz, who placed eighth. "I didn't think it was a word."
Abramowitz said he was feeling proud about successfully spelling "fictile," which he said clicked when he asked for an alternative pronunciation.
"I felt cool about 'fictile,' " he said.
Catherine Cortez, an eighth-grader from St. Basil's School in Solano County, placed third. Aditya Mishra, a fifth-grader from Excelsior Elementary School in Roseville, placed fourth. Mishra is the brother of 2010 winner, Anvita Mishra.
Fourth-grader Snehaa Ganesh Kumar of Folsom Hills Elementary School placed fifth. It was Kumar's second competition. She was seated next to Maglalang.
"It was really fun," she said.