Thirty-four spelling champs from 11 middle schools and junior highs, four parochial schools and an online academy competed Wednesday in the Medina County Regional Spelling Bee.
After a grueling 90 minutes, six remained on the auditorium stage of the Medina High School:
• David Bartlett, a sixth-grader from Brunswick’s Willetts Middle School;
• Madeline Cramer, a sixth-grader at Brunswick’s Visintainer Middle School;
• Cassidy Green, a seventh-grader at Visintainer;
• Ryan Holdman, a sixth-grader at the Ohio Virtual Academy;
• Patrick Skelton, an eighth-grader at Medina’s A.I. Root Middle School;
• Shawn Tahajod, an eighth-grader at St. Francis Xavier School, in Medina.
The six finalists will advance to represent Medina County at the Regional Spelling Bee, sponsored by the Akron Beacon Journal, scheduled at 1 p.m. or March 8 in the auditorium of the Akron-Summit County Public Library.
Wednesday’s competition was open to sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students from every school — public, private, and parochial — in Medina County.
The students qualified for the county competition by competing in their school’s spelling bee. No more than five contestants could come from any one school.
The county Bee followed the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee format. For each student, the announcer, Rev. Chris Cahill, pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church, in Lodi, pronounced a word and uses it in a sentence.
The student can ask for a definition and what language the word came from. Spelling the word correctly moved the student to the next round.
Nine students were eliminated in each of the first and second rounds. Three more were gone by the third and four more in the fourth round. The final three were eliminated in the fifth round.
Some of the words youngster stumbled on were fairly common: “honcho,” “glitz,” “bungalow” and “fiery.”
But there were a couple ringers: waywiser (a surveying device), isobar (a line on a weather map) and pangolin (a small mammal with a body covered with horny overlapping scales, found in Asia and Africa).
Two of the words correctly spelled by finalists were “Fletcherism” (the practice of eating in small amounts and only when hungry and of chewing one’s food thoroughly) and “greengage” (a sweet, greenish fruit resembling a small plum).
Patrick Skelton correctly spelled “boutique” to make it to the finals.
His father said he wasn’t surprised his son did well.
“He has a very good memory,” Neil Skelton, of Medina, said. “He’s always been a good speller.”
Cassidy Green, the daughter of Joe Schaeffer and Chris Dana, of Brunswick, won a spot among the finalists by correctly spelling “plateau” in the fifth round.
“I knew the word from geography class,” she said, “but I wasn’t sure (of the spelling) — I just went with my gut feeling.”
In the two weeks leading up to the bee, Cassidy said she spent two to three hours a day studying.
She plans to study a lot more before the regional competition in Akron.
“The words will be a lot harder there,” she said.
Contestants in the regional bee will represent Medina, Summit, Portage and Wayne counties.
Contact managing editor David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or firstname.lastname@example.org.