Ostermann ends spelling bee run tied for 17th
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nathan Ostermann, who has been the best speller in Imperial County for three years running, ultimately finished tied for the 17th best speller in the United States in the finals of the 92nd annual Scripps Spelling Bee on Thursday.
The Wilson Junior High School eighth grader was undone by the word bodieron, which according to Merriam-Webster is a California sea trout.
Earlier that morning, he had successfully navigated his way through the words Robespierrist, amphisbaena, maile and yperite.
“Seventeenth place is incredible,” said father David Ostermann by email. “Nathan was at first disappointed, and Nathan knew the word after his, and many of the other words in the round.”
David Ostermann said reaching the finals was Nathan’s goal from the start, which he managed by reaching the top 50 on Wednesday.
There were 567 spellers at the start, he said.
“Nathan has had a bad cold throughout the competition, but with reaching his goal of making it into the semifinals, he was on cloud nine last night and couldn’t stop talking,” his father said. “He was extremely happy proud and ecstatic to say the least.”
Nathan was the first Imperial Valley student ever to advance to the final round.
“Mom, Dad, and his sister Danielle could not be prouder,” David Ostermann said. “Seeing him accomplish his lofty goal is an incredible joy and blessing to see.”