Va. man, 67, wins AARP spelling bee for 2nd time

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Associated Press

Posted on August 11, 2012 at 9:00 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 12 at 12:01 AM

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A 67-year-old Virginia man out-spelled four of his cousins to capture first place at this year's AARP National Spelling Bee.

Michael Petrina Jr., of Arlington, Va., spelled better than 48 others Saturday to become the bee's first repeat winner. He won the bee in 2009, and placed second last year and in 2008.

Wyoming AARP spokeswoman Joanne Mai says the retired attorney won by correctly spelling the word "rhizoctonia" (rhy-zahk-TOH'-nee-uh), a type of imperfect fungi.

Petrina's prizes include $1,000 and a five-year AARP membership.

The bee was a family reunion for Petrina's cousins. All four are siblings who have not seen each other since 2003.

More than 50 competitors from 24 states signed up for the 16th annual senior bee. It's open to anyone age 50 and older.

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