LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A champion was crowned last Saturday at the 2023 Arkansas State Spelling Bee Championship.

Zeeshan Anower of Woods Elementary in Sebastian County was this year’s winner. The west-Arkansas winner reflected the state-wide nature of the championship.

Matt Brodbent of Cross County in east Arkansas won second place. Third-place winner Carter Metcalf hailed from Marion County in northern Arkansas.

The winning word was “lomilomi,” the name of a vigorous massage used by Hawaiians to relieve pain and fatigue.

The three competed against 53 students from across the state. The finalists came from 84,350 students from 422 schools in 55 of the state’s counties who competed in local and county contests leading up to the Little Rock championship.

The one-day event was held at the Arkansas 4-H Center in Little Rock.

As the Arkansas winner, Anower will go on to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee over Memorial Day weekend in National Habor, Maryland. Over 200 spellers from across the country are expected for that competition, which first began in 1925.