A lot of study, one educated guess and a wee bit of luck from a pair of socks helped 13-year-old Christopher O'Connor win the annual Pima County Spelling Bee Saturday.
The St. Cyril of Alexander School seventh grader successfully spelled "bibliophile" to win the competition. Last year he came in second at the county bee and went on to finish ninth at the state competition, Jaymie Jacobs, who organizes the county bee, said.
Christopher said he wasn't familiar with the word bibliophile - a person who loves or admires books - before the competition so, "I just kind of guessed.
"I didn't know it was right. I was pretty sure it was right, but I didn't want to be too overly confident."
Christopher spent plenty of time preparing for the county bee, using a "Spell It" study guide to memorize the structure of words. That he enjoys words, made it easier.
"I just like it, and I guess when you like something you get good at it," Christopher said.
Christopher wore his lucky socks to the competition, but he forgot to bring along a small statue of St. Christopher that he had with him at last year's county bee. He plans to have it with him at the state bee March 23 in Phoenix.
Christopher will be joined at the state competition by runner-up, Michael Chen, 9, a fourth grader at Copper Creek Elementary in the Amphitheater Unified School District, Jacobs said.
David Rumph, 10, a fourth grader at Mesquite Elementary in the Vail Unified School District, finished third in the county and is the alternate for the state competition, Jacobs said.
The boys were among 41 students in the county, age 15 and younger, to compete Saturday.
Contact reporter Kimberly Matas at email@example.com or at 573-4191.