The final rounds in the Osakis Spelling Bee were intense.

Both finalists – Joy Kral and Zach Fiskness – had chances to win but in the end, it was Kral who was riding high in her “stirrups,” which she spelled correctly to win the bee.

The Jan. 27 competition started with 19 students in sixth through eighth grade who qualified for the bee.

The fourth round was especially difficult, knocking out six spellers with the words “parcel,” “capable,” “sanitized,” “shepherd,” “campaign” and “brayed.”

Round five was also tricky as four contestants had trouble with “cannonade,” “tarry,” “archives,” and “opportunity.”

After seven rounds, only Kral and Fiskness remained. They both made it through the next two rounds, spelling “proximo,” “hymnal,” “bindi” and “derogatory” correctly.

In round 10, Kral got tripped up by “nefarious” but Fiskness had trouble with “hokum,” which kept the match going.

Round 11 was also tough, stumping both spellers with “teflon” and “bayonet.”

Kral started round 12 by correctly spelling “accordance” while Fiskness misspelled a word he likely hadn’t heard before – “thermohaline,” a term used in oceanology that involves the joined effect of salinity and temperature.

This meant Kral could end the battle if she spelled the next word right. She hesitated only slightly with “stirrups,” later saying she wasn’t 100 percent sure whether it had one “r” or two, but she made the right decision.

The definition of stirrups, by the way, are “bent pieces of metal, wood or leather made to hold and support the foot of a rider on horseback.”

Kral, a seventh grader, competed in last year’s bee and made it to the mid-rounds.

This year’s bee was organized by Victoria Van Watermulen, a Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) program teacher at Osakis Public Schools.