Ryan Berkoski wins Dillingham spelling bee by a "smidge"

Feb 17, 2016

Fifth grader Ryan Berkoski will go on to represent Dillingham City School District at the state bee in Anchorage in March. 

Fourth grade champion and runner-up Rayna Tuckwood and school champ Ryan Berkoski show off their trophies.
Credit Hannah Colton/KDLG

On Tuesday night, fifth grader Ryan Berkoski won the 2016 Dillingham Spelling Bee. 

With “smidge,” Berkoski cemented his victory after correctly spelling “nurture” the round before. The spelling bee rules require that the last person standing spell two correctly in a row after the runner-up misses a word. 

The runner-up and fourth grade champion was Rayna Tuckwood, who missed the word “hammock."  Third place went to the third grade champion, Elayne Woods. 

26 students in the third through fifth grades competed. Though several were eliminated in the first few rounds, it took most of an hour for the field of competitors onstage to drop below fifteen. The kids' careful preparation was evident in their recitation of words not often found in elementary-level literature, including "lactose," "moxie," "shoehorn," and "owlishly." 

Defending 2015 champion Skylar Tuckwood got out a few rounds before the final on the word "beverage."

As school champion, Ryan Berkoski will represent Dillingham School District in Anchorage at the state spelling bee next month. 

Berkoski spelled confidently throughout the many rounds of the bee.