It was a fight to the finish of the annual spelling bee, but the winner finally went home with a second first place ribbon.

Sixth-grader Isaac Nerstad claimed first place again this year. He won last year as a fifth-grader.

His older brother, Devon, made it to the Minnesota Final Spelling Bee in 2013 when he was in eighth grade and placed first runner-up at that bee. Correct spelling runs in this family, as Devon also won the district bees in 2012 and 2011. He won the regional bee in 2012.

Second place winner was eighth-grader Reid Bjerke. Third place win was a tie between eighth-grader Wyatt Spier and sixth-grader Jacob Olerud.

A total of 20 students from grades fifth through eighth participated in the bee.

The bee started out with homonyms – words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings, like plane (plain), hire (higher) and beach (beech). These words knocked out one or two students.

The next few rounds brought words like agog (very eager or curious to hear or see something), faucet, craggy and shilling, which forced more students to drop.

Trickster words like Icelandic and Bollywood were unable to defeat students. When proper nouns are spelled, the student must say “capital” before the first letter.

Many students felt the sting of the bee with disguise, balloonist, handiwork, affirmation and grandiose.

Down to the final four of Jacob Olerud, Wyatt Spier, Reid Bjerke and Isaac Nerstad, boisterous and ricochet knocked out Olerud and Spier.

Once again, Nerstad found himself competing against a student two grades ahead of him. Last year’s second place winner was Gavin Thorson.

In the final round, Nerstad spelled entrepreneurs correctly. Bjerke received the word anecdote, but unfortunately spelled it incorrectly.

The winning word for Nerstad was mandible, a word meaning “jaw.”

Nerstad moves onto the regional bee in Rochester on Feb. 13, at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The top six spellers from those two bees will move onto the Minnesota Final Spelling Bee.

The winner of the final will win an expense-paid trip (with one adult) to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May 2018.

Participants in this year’s bee are: fifth grade: Trevor Donlan, Emmet Engeldinger, Sylas Flatin, Ben Udstuen, and Kendal Van Minsel

Sixth grade: Lily Hundorf, Hailee Kittleson, Isaac Nerstad, Josh Newgaard, and Jacob Olerud

Seventh grade: Haley Ellingson, Xander Lewis, Maggie Lile, Addison McHugh, and Ella Wennes

Eighth grade: Reid Bjerke, Ashlyn Hammel, Emiley Osbourne, Wyatt Spier, and Gavin Thorson.