- Associated Press - Sunday, March 19, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A fourth-grader from Albuquerque has been named the new state spelling bee champion.

Nine-year-old Akilan Sankaran beat 38 other competitors Saturday at the 70th annual New Mexico Spelling Bee held at an Albuquerque school.

He took the title by correctly spelling the word “retablo,” which Merriam-Webster defines as “a votive offering made in the form of a religious picture typically portraying Christian saints painted on a panel and hung in a church or chapel.”

The Manzano Day School student will now move on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. The national competition will be held in May.

The young winner said he was surprised he won.

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