Clara Wicoff used her previous winning form of asking for a word’s definition and use in a sentence, plus spelling it out on her hand, to win the Iola Middle School spelling bee Wednesday.
Most of the 15 competitors made it through to round four, when they began to succumb a few each round.
Claire Moran looked straight ahead and spoke clearly when spelling squeeze and author.
As words got harder, more students asked for definitions or contextual use of words.
After round eight, six students remained. All made it through round nine, which brought chuckles when “luxury” was used in a sentence.
“In college, having a clean pair of underpants is sometimes considered a luxury,” English teacher Ona Chapman pronounced. “I didn’t make these up,” she remarked to bursts of laughter.
Ashley Cary nonetheless spelled the word correctly.
Another round, though, saw Cary and Moran fall to subterranean and quarantine, respectively.
Round 11 was populated by eighth graders Sydni Haen and Mickey Ingle, seventh grader Kaleb Mock and sixth grader Wicoff.
The penultimate round brought foibles of pronunciation.
Wicoff received the word “financier,” but confusion over whether to pronounce it ‘financer’ or ‘finance-ier’ prevailed. The word was tossed. (Both pronunciations, it turns out, are correct, with financer being preferred.) Larynx, mispronounced larnix, received the same fate.
“I live in Kansas,” Chapman quipped later, noting she had seen some of the bee’s words in print, but never heard them spoken.
Chapman wasn’t alone. Mock, one of three contestants left in round 12, misstated ‘infatuation’ as ‘infactuation’ and spelled it accordingly. Mickey Ingle’s misspelling of fallacy knocked her out.
That left Wicoff to spell ‘palatable’ for the trophy.
Wicoff, Ingle and Mock will all participate in the Allen County Spelling Bee Feb. 3 at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center.
Haen is alternate.
Earlier in the bee, Cooper Wade fell to guard. He said he was disappointed he didn’t progress further.
“Usually I mess up on longer words,” he said of his at-home practice.
Still, he reckoned, “it’s better to mess up here” than on stage at the Bowlus.
Wade, in seventh grade, will try again next year, he said.
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