Rachael Cundey again won on Monday the Columbia County Spelling Bee.
With the correct spelling of “triage,” the Lakeside Middle School seventh-grader on her fourth consecutive county spelling bee.
It took Rachael just over an hour to win the annual contest in the 13th round.
With the win, school officials believe Rachael becomes the winningest speller ever to compete in the county bee.
Rachael first won the spelling bee as a fourth-grader at South Columbia Elementary School in 2008, making her the youngest contestant ever to win at the county level.
Rachael said she grows more confident in her spelling abilities with each win.
“The more words I learn, the easier it gets each time,” she said.
To prepare, Rachael studied Latin to better understand word origins and tested herself with word lists used in former spelling bees.
After 10 rounds of the spelling bee, five pupils out of 26 remained in contention.
The words got tougher in the 11th round as three spellers were eliminated. All that remained were Rachael and Blue Ridge Elementary third-grader Ivan Nguyen.
Nguyen fell in the 12th round by misspelling “chaffinch.”
Rachael now will go on to compete next month in the regional spelling bee, which she has won the past three years. Should she win again, she’ll return to Washington, D.C., to compete in the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee May 27 through June 1.