Spelling savvy runs in Sierra Shoemaker's family -- the 12-year-old's mom competed in spelling bees as a girl, according to Fox News. But Friday's bee at Sierra's California school district almost put the youngster out of the running this year, all due to a judging gaffe.

As KMPH reports, when Sierra spelled "braille," she knew she had it right. The judges, however, claimed the word only had one "l" in it because that incorrect spelling appeared on their answer sheet at the Selma School District spelling bee.

Sierra said even the audience caught the error, but she knew better than to make a stink about it in competition, even if it meant elimination.

"I didn't want to say anything, because... if the word master tells you [that] you got a word wrong, you don't really argue with him," Sierra told KMPH.

Fortunately, the school community got behind her. ABC News reports that an initial appeal on Sierra's behalf was rejected by the county, but her school "appealed the appeal" and won.

Sierra will compete at the 2013 Fresno County Spelling Bee, which takes place March 21.


Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • Lori Ann Madison

    Six-year-old Lori Ann Madison, of Woodbridge, Va., the youngest contestant in the history of the National Spelling Bee, reaches for the microphone during the second round, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Lori Anne Madison

    Lori Anne Madison, 6, of Woodbridge, Va., takes her seat as the youngest speller in the National Spelling Bee, before competing in the Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Wednesday, May 30, 2012.

  • Mignon Tsai

    Mignon Tsai, 12, of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, reacts as she misspells a word during round five of the semifinals at the National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 31, 2012.

  • Lena Greenberg

    Lena Greenberg, 14, of Philadelphia, waits to compete in the National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Wednesday, May 30, 2012. She spelled her word correctly.

  • Naomi Li

    Naomi Li, 14, of Center Valley, Pa. thinks hard about how to spell her word during the National Spelling Bee, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Dev Jaiswal

    Dev Jaiswal, of Louisville, Miss., spells his word during the second round of National Spelling Bee, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Sam Lowery

    Sam Lowery, of Charlestown, Mass., spells his word in the air during round two of the National Spelling Bee, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Dylan Bird

    Dylan Bird, 13, of Pebble Beach, Calif., listens to fellow spellers during the National Spelling Bee, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Emily McGraw

    Emily McGraw of Lafayette, La., reacts as her word is read during the National Spelling Bee, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Kayla Sheffield

    Kayla Sheffield, 13, of Fort Myers, Fla., wears different colored shoe laces as she waits to spell her word during the National Spelling Bee, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Jae Canetti

    Jae Canetti, 10, of Fairfax, Va., celebrates after spelling a word correctly during the fourth round of the semifinals at the National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 31, 2012.

  • Abigail Spitzer

    As other spellers react, Abigail Spitzer, 13, of El Paso, Texas, holds her sign over her face after correctly spelling a word during the fourth round of the semifinals at the National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 31, 2012.

  • Abigail Violet Spitzer

    Abigail Violet Spitzer of El Paso, Texas, covers her face as she concentrates during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 31, 2012, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Lena Greenberg

    Lena Greenberg, 14, of Philadelphia, spells out a word in the air during the semifinals of the National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 31, 2012.

  • Snigdha Nandipati, Lena Greenberg, Arvind Mahankali

    From left, Snigdha Nandipati, 14, of San Diego, Calif., Lena Greenberg, 14, of Philadelphia, and Arvind Mahankali, 12, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., celebrate being named as three of the nine finalists at the National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 31, 2012, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Nicholas Rushlow

    Nicholas Rushlow, 14, of Pickerington, Ohio, reacts after spelling a word correctly during the sixth round of the semifinals at the National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 31, 2012, in Oxon Hill, Md., making the five-time bee attendee one of Thursday night's nine finalists.

  • Jennifer Mong

    Jennifer Mong, 12, of Newfoundland, Canada, reacts to spelling the word "vellon" incorrectly during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 31, 2012, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Vismaya Kharkar,

    Vismaya Kharkar, 13, of Bountiful, Utah reacts to spelling the word "allothogenic" correctly during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 31, 2012, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Snigdha Nandipati

    Snigdha Nandipati, 14, of San Diego, Calif., spells a word correctly in front of the judges during the sixth round of the semifinals at the National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 31, 2012, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Frank Cahill

    Frank Cahill, 14, of Parker, Colo., reacts after spelling a word during the finals of the National Spelling Bee Thursday, May 31, 2012 in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Gifton Wright

    Gifton Wright, 14, of Spanish Town, Jamaica, spells a word during the finals of the National Spelling Bee Thursday, May 31, 2012 in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Nicholas Rushlow

    Nicholas Rushlow, 14, of Pickerington, Ohio, reacts after spelling a word during the finals of the National Spelling Bee Thursday, May 31, 2012 in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Arvind Mahankali

    Arvind Mahankali, 12, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., spells a word during the finals of the National Spelling Bee Thursday, May 31, 2012 in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Lena Greenberg

    Lena Greenberg, 14, of Philadelphia, reacts after spelling a word incorrectly and being eliminated during the finals of the National Spelling Bee Thursday, May 31, 2012 in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Nicholas Rushlow

    Nicholas Rushlow, 14, of Pickerington, Ohio, reacts after spelling a word incorrectly and being eliminated during the finals of the National Spelling Bee Thursday, May 31, 2012 in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Stuti Mishra

    Stuti Mishra, 14, of West Melbourne, Fla., uses an air keyboard as she spells a word during the finals of the National Spelling Bee Thursday, May 31, 2012 in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Arvind Mahankali

    Arvind Mahankali, 12, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., reacts after spelling a word incorrectly and being eliminated during the finals of the National Spelling Bee Thursday, May 31, 2012 in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Snigdha Nandipati, Sujan Nandipati, Krishnarao Nandipati,

    Snigdha Nandipati, right, 14, of San Diego, reacts with her father Krishnarao Nandipati, left, and brother Sujan Nandipati, after winning the National Spelling Bee Thursday, May 31, 2012 in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Snigdha Nandipati