Great Bend eighth grader Allison Regehr won the Barton County Spelling Bee for the fourth time Saturday, and is headed for the Sunflower Spelling Bee at Hays and a chance to advance to the national bee.
Julio Herrera, a fifth grader at Jefferson Elementary, placed second Saturday at the bee, officially named the Donald H. Humphreys 2013 Barton County Spelling Bee, and he will also represent Barton County as one of two champions eligible for the Sunflower Bee. In the 16th round Saturday, Herrera stumbled on the word “austere,” while Regehr correctly spelled “thesis.” She then spelled “cinnamon” to cement her win in the 17th round.
Twenty-two students from 11 schools were eligible to compete Saturday, but only 19 actually took the stage.
Students participated in two practice rounds which saw some flubs on relatively easy words, but pronouncer N.R. Weber offered words of advice and encouragement. “Fifty years ago this spring, I was sitting in a chair at the Barton County Spelling Bee,” he recalled. That time, his mouth got ahead of his brain, and he spoke a wrong letter even though he knew how to spell his word.
Then as now, he noted, official spelling bee rules will allow a speller to start over, but not to change the order of letters already spoken. He advised spellers to take their time and ask to hear their word repeated or used in a sentence. They could also ask for a definition, provided by Annie Weber, who won the county bee in 2002 and 2003 while she was a student at Claflin Junior High School. This gave spellers a chance to hear another person pronounce the word.
“I was a little (nervous), but after I started spelling I settled down,” Herrera said. All of the spellers survived the first round.
Herrera and his classmate Olivia Mull studied the words together, while Regehr said she studied alone. Her classmate Brandon Crane, another eighth grader at Great Bend Middle School, placed third after being knocked out in the 13th round by the word “miscellaneous.” Logan McHenry, an eighth grader from Hoisington Middle School, made it to round 11 but misspelled “quotient.”
Meanwhile, the audience was applauding for Herrera and Regehr as he conquered such words as uranium, recurrence, pneumonia and homonym, and she mastered kiwi, sequel, equator and obituary.
All students received participation ribbons, and there were also gift certificates for the winner, said Paul Snapp, chairman.
Great Bend: Jacy Berscheidt and Daniel Abbott, fifth graders at Eisenhower Elementary; Julio Herrera and Olivia Mull, fifth graders at Jefferson Elementary; Michael Esponosa and Marcus Schmeidler, sixth graders at Lincoln Elementary; Alexis Morgan, sixth grader, and Analu Morris, fifth grader, at Park Elementary; Jesus Sanchez and Letzy Espino, fifth graders at Riley Elementary; Emma Bieker, sixth grader, and Ryen Wilkens, fifth grader, at Holy Family School; Jaci Guthrie and Mollie Phillips, fourth graders at Central Kansas Christian Academy; Allison Regehr and Brandon Crane, eighth graders at Great Bend Middle School
Ellinwood: Sage Suchy and Marlow Hosler, sixth graders at Ellinwood Elementary; and Ashtin Kelpper, fourth grader, and Jeremy Kowalsky, seventh grader, at St. Joseph
Hoisington: Braxton Donovan, sixth grader, and Logan McHenry, eighth grader, at Hoisington Middle School.
Judges were Jean Cavanaugh, Dr. David Hart, D.D.S., and Judy Fox. Earl Fox was in charge of sound and tape recording, and a committee of Kiwanis members assisted Snapp.