SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A smile crept across Amith Vasantha’s face, hours and hours of hard work paid off Saturday as he was crowned the winner of the KPIX 5 Bay Area Spelling Bee.

Vasantha clinched the title by spelling Clogwyn – a cliff or precipice – correctly.

When asked the keys to his success, Vasantha answered: “It’s a lot of hard work that’s paid off, and paid off well.”

Vasantha admitted he was not familiar with the winning word, but took “an educated guess.”

“I took an educated guess based on patterns,” he said. “Like the Y at the end, that’s common in Welsh.”

The 13-year-old survived a three-round spell-off against 6th grader Rishik Gandhasri of San Jose.

“I do it for the words,” Gandhasri said of taking part in the Bee. “So that I can spell the words properly.”

Vasantha, a 7th grader at BASIS Independent Sillicon Valley, had finished in the top 10 the three previous years. Now as the winner, he earns a spot at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

The win made Vasantha’s family proud.

“He did so well today, and I’m excited for him to compete in the nationals,” said brother Rohit Vasantha.

“(We are) very excited,” said his mother Arathi. “ I knew he could do it.”

Round-by-round videos of the event are embedded below.



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