A quiet young man, when Vipul Shekhawat does speak it's often by delivering the correct letters.
An eighth-grader at Lakeside Middle School, Vipul is Columbia County's two-time spelling bee champion and will represent the county at the regional spelling bee March 11.
Vipul said he finished third in the regional bee last year, but is already practicing to improve on his performance this year.
"I have a word list and I'm just studying it," he said. "There's over 4,000 words on it."
The word list contains all the words contestants might hear at the regional bee and is given to each of the competitors.
The winner of the regional bee will go on to compete at the 79th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., held May 31 through June 2.
Vipul, 13, said he feels good about his chances to compete in the nation's capital.
"I'm pretty confident," he said. "I'm trying not to be overconfident. It's not good to be overconfident, because you'll mess up."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.