Barton County Spelling Bee champion Jordan Brough expressed the perfect reaction, “Did I win?”
Jefferson Elementary fourth-grader Brough correctly spelled “gunnysack,” and “dracula,” to edge Marco Espinosa in the 2016 Donald H. Humphreys Barton County Spelling Bee at Great Bend High School.
Brough and Lincoln Elementary sixth-grader Espinosa started and finished the competition side-by-side in adjacent chairs. Brough and Espinosa qualify to the Sunflower Spelling Bee March 5 in Hays.
“I was surprised,” Brough said. “I thought I was going to be the third-one out because I didn’t practice at all.”
They breezed through the first four words before going back-and-forth with correct and incorrect words.
Brough got “gospel,” “academy,” “tranquil,” and “tarantula,” correct. Espinosa correctly spelled “balcony,” “Soviet,” “synthetic,” and “augment.”
Once it was narrowed to two spellers, the words got progressively more difficult.
Each speller had chances to win first place by correctly spelling two words after the other one missed a word in a round.
Brough missed on “guttural,” and Espinosa missed “ostensibly,” “gordita,” and spherical,” to win first place.
Both spellers were forced to guess on words which they didn’t understand.
Brough attempted to spell more than 30 words.
“We were up there a long time,” Brough said. “I kept thinking about how long it would take to be somewhere and you keep getting told, ‘We’ll be there in a little bit,’ and it ends up being a few more hours.”
The defending Barton County champion and last year’s runner-up were not so fortunate.
Last year’s champion Dalton Dicks from Great Bend Middle School missed “Query” in the second round. Last year’s runner-up Kyler Doll from Ellinwood’s St. Joseph School missed “germane,” in the third round.
Eisenhower fourth-grader finished third after spelling four words correctly. Riley Elementary’s Joselin Pando, Cecil Gagleman of Central Kansas Christian Academy, Taryn Robl of Ellinwood Middle School and Doll missed words in the third round.
The Great Bend Kiwanis Club sponsored the event. Robert Feldt served as the pronouncer. Serving as judges were Dr. David Hart, Judy Fox and Jean Cavanaugh. Great Bend Kiwanis President Rob Bauer worked as emcee for the event.
The winner of the Sunflower Spelling Bee will travel to the Scripps National Spelling Bee near Washington, D.C., at the end of May.