Murrieta's Dominique Raymundo, a seventh-grader at Dorothy McElhinney Middle School, came in second place in Wednesday's Riverside County Spelling Bee.
Katie Peterson, who attends Palm Desert Charter Middle School, topped 25 competitors to take first place in the 36th annual Riverside County Spelling Bee, held at the Moreno Valley Conference & Recreation Center.
Katie, an eighth-grader with the proficiency to spell rarely heard words like "mnemonic" and "gnathonic" will represent Riverside County at the National Spelling Bee in May.
In third place in the county bee was San Jacinto Leadership Academy student Shakson Isaac. Ryan Bascos, a student at Stokoe Elementary in the Alvord Unified School District came in fourth.
The contest lasted nearly three hours and went into the 22nd round before Katie cinched a win by successfully spelling "tremulous," which means to be affected with trembling or tremors.
Other rounds had required contestants to spell words such as "kudzu," "omnivorous," "gnathonic" and "paradigm," according to the county Office of Education.
Katie will compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, slated for May 26- 30, in National Harbor, Md.
The two first-place elementary school finishers from the county spelling bee— fourth-grader Ryan Bascos from Stokoe Elementary School in Riverside and sixth-grader Shakson Isaac from the San Jacinto Leadership Academy—will represent the county at the California Spelling Bee in San Joaquin.
Dominique will get another chance next year to compete, as the spelling bee includes students in fourth through eighth grades. She told the San Diego U-T she plans to do just that.
—City News Service and Maggie Avants contributed to this report.