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Rice County speller advances to state bee finals
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Students from Rice and Edwards counties are among the finalists who will compete in the next stage of the Sunflower Spelling Bee. Barton County’s Sydney Mattison qualified for the first round by winning the local bee but did not advance after the written test eliminated all but 17 of the 150 spellers.

Kate Wary from Great Bend Kiwanis Club, sponsor of the Barton County bee, said organizers of the state bee provided a tough written test aimed at reducing the number of entrants in an effort to follow COVID-19 guidelines for crowd size and social distancing.

“Winning the County Bee itself is a great accomplishment, and we are proud to have Sydney competing for Barton County at the (written) round of competition, albeit in an unprecedented manner this year,” Wary said.

Amber Jackson with the Kansas Press Association in Topeka said only spellers who scored 15 or more on the 25-word written test will advance to the “live” bee, to be held July 24 at Newman University in Wichita.

Those who will compete, and the counties they will represent, are: Brooks Craig, Clay; Charlie Maples, Douglas; Ivy DuBois, Edwards; Emma Rowan, Harvey; Ishya Bhavsar, Johnson; Sean Kostner, Kingman; Anna Yedlinsky, Leavenworth; Holden Wilson, Devlin Ogg, Marshall; Blake Amren, Miami; Tyler Nolte, Nemaha; Ryann Manning, Norton; Sara Childs, Pottawatomie; Kailyn Dickson, Rice; Aiden Levendofsky, Riley; Shae Ricke, Sedgwick; and Rachel Malsawmhlui, Wyandotte.