SARTELL -- The St. Cloud area will be well represented after two local 8th graders advanced in this (Thursday) morning's Regional Spelling Bee.

8th Grader John Byun, from St. Cloud, took first place with the word Ravioli, while 8th grader Morgan Paulson of Sauk Rapids-Rice took 2nd place.

Byun says he is excited to advance to the next round and show his hard work is paying off.

"It's not just a matter of pride but proving to myself with the correct preparation and not losing my nerves I can do it," says Byun.

Paulson says it's an honor to represent the St. Cloud area at the State Spelling Bee.

"I am very prideful in my area and I am really glad that I can make it to the next round," says Paulson.

Forty-six 5th through 8th students put their vocabulary skills to the test at Resource Training and Solutions. Twenty-three spellers competed in the morning session, fifteen of them from the St. Cloud area.

Sauk Rapids-Rice Teacher Morgan Olson, who has gone from speller to spectator says  it's not as easy as people may think.

"There is a lot of pressure when you're in front of an audience and you're up and everyone is listening to every word and hanging on to every letter," says Olson.

The other twenty-three spellers competed this afternoon. 7th grader Nicholas Little from Dassel-Cokato took first place with the work kohlrabi, while 8th grader Olivia Sorenson of St. Michael-Albertville took second place.

Byun, Paulson, Little and Sorenson will compete in the Multi-Region State Spelling Bee in Fergus Falls on February 22rd.

One winner from the Multi-State Regional Bee will go to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. May 22nd through the 28th.

Morgan Paulson (left) and John Byun (right) advance to the State Spelling Bee. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)