LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Hours of studying and memorizing thousands of words is paying off for a Valley middle-schooler.
Eric Goroza is set to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee as the lone representative from Las Vegas. Goroza has a knack for spelling real words, even ones that are way above a middle school reading level.
He's been captivated ever since he won the 5th-grade spelling bee.
"That just made me realize that, 'hey, I'm actually good at this. Maybe I should do this later on in my life'," Goroza said.
It was a sound decision.
The seventh-grader at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School wound up winning the Nevada state spelling bee. He clinched the victory with the word "objicient." Which means one who makes an objection, an objector.
"I was just praying. I was just hoping that it was the right word," Goroza said.
Goroza is also an accomplished fencer, top 30 in his division, "I plan on taking it to college and fencing and taking, maybe if I'm lucky, professionally."
His next step is competing with more than 200 other kids around the country in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The reality of his victory hasn't quite sunk in as Goroza is doing more intensive preparation each day.
"I'm probably going to be ramping up my studying to maybe half an hour or more than that."
Ultimately, Goroza says his goal is to make his parents proud.
"It would really mean a lot," he said. "Especially to my parents, if I won."