After seven hours and almost 500 words, thirty-six students from schools in Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset counties battled at NJ101.5’s Tri-County Spelling Bee Sunday to qualify for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

A winner emerged but only after numerous tense rounds of challenge words where the last two contenders went back and forth until only one remained.

Angela Wang, representing Montgomery Upper Middle School, secured first place when she spelled the word “filasse.”

“I thought that I won out of studying and luck,” Wang said after the win.

Coming in second was Aditya Seshadri of Crossroads Middle School (South) who made it through several challenging rounds with hard-to-spell words like: twoling; iridaceous; nilpotent  and tympanum.

“I’m kinda sad I got second,” Seshadri said, “But I’ll learn for next year.”

In third place was Nivedhitha Sivakumar of Montgomery Lower Middle School, who conquered words like “minacious” and “Hemerocallis” before being eliminated.

“This was my first time doing the spelling bee,” Sivakumar said. “It was fun,” she added, and says she’ll be back next year.

A special thank you as well to our judges Wendy Wesley and Leanne Vuksanic from Townsquare Media and Margaret Nastasi from Rutherford High School.

Check out some of the video highlights from yesterday's bee below!