Staff Photo: Frank Reddy
State Spelling Bee Champ Nicholas Poulos, a 13-year-old Wesleyan School student, poses for a photo with the trophy he won Friday afternoon. Poulos now goes on to the national spelling bee in Washington.
ATLANTA -- The word, 'fibrinogen,' describes a soluble protein in blood plasma, from which fibrin is produced.
To 13-year-old Nicholas Poulos -- a Wesleyan School student -- it describes so much more.
Following Friday afternoon's victory at the state spelling bee, the medical term is forever stamped in his brain, emblazoned across neural networks in his cerebral cortex.
After more than 25 rounds of intense, phonetic combat, Poulos ousted 12-year-old Rohan Ramdeholl of North Gwinnett Middle School. The end result: Ramdeholl won an iPad, some money and a towering Runner-Up Trophy.
And Poulos is headed to the Scripps 2013 National Spelling Bee May 28-30 in Washington, D.C.
Out of 20 other participants in the statewide spelling bee -- which pitted Georgia's best-of-the-best in merciless elimination-style battle -- Poulos and Ramdeholl were the only ones to take home trophies.
But they weren't the only participants representing Gwinnett County. Karl Patram, a 13-year-old Alton C. Crews Middle School student, placed fourth in the state bee.
Patram said he was glad to have made it as far as he did.
"I almost had to laugh at some of those words," said Patram following Friday's competition. "There was one word I really thought was crazy."
The word was 'chockablock,' meaning "crammed full of people or things."
And the one that got him? Coadjutor: A bishop appointed to assist a diocesan bishop, and often also designated as his successor.
What stumped runner-up Ramdeholl? Quiddity: the inherent nature or essence of someone or something.
Ramdeholl said he studied a lot for the bee but also employed tactics during the actual competition. "I just asked a lot of questions," Ramdeholl said. "It gave me time to think."
Taking home prizes and a big, golden trophy "feels good," the boy said.
Poulos might agree.
The Wesleyan student said he spent much time cramming for the event in the past several days, but also studied a vocabulary sheet in the weeks leading up to it.
"I think all the studying paid off," Poulos said. "Some of the words came from the last few days of studying, but most of it was stuff I already knew. I just stuck to what I knew and how I knew to spell certain words, and it worked out."
Crowned the state's top speller, one can imagine how proud parents Donna and Jason Poulos must be.
"His mom should get most of the credit," said Jason, grinning wide following his son's victory. "She spent a great deal of time coaching him."
Added Jason: "(Nicholas) has got a photographic memory. He only has to see a word one or two times, and it's in his brain ... forever."
Add 'fibrinogen' to the list.