Warner wins shot at National Spelling Bee title

March 15, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

Warner wins shot at National Spelling Bee title

One of the last words Justin Warner studied Friday evening in preparation for the Washington County Spelling Bee was "cholesterosis."

Its definition is an abnormal deposition of cholesterol in the blood, but it caused no problem for Justin, who easily spelled the word Saturday afternoon to win the eighth-grade title.

The 19th-annual competition, which was sponsored by The Herald-Mail, featured eighth-, seventh- and sixth-grade students from county public and private schools competing at Western Heights Middle School.

"It's exciting," said 14-year-old Justin, who now goes on to compete in the National Spelling Bee in May. "I didn't think I could do it."


Justin, a student at E. Russell Hicks Middle School, went through nine rounds of words to win the title. He correctly spelled "rheumatism," "rubella," and "deciphered," among others.

Meanwhile, other contestants were eliminated from the competition after they incorrectly spelled words like "chilblains" "chancellor," "Sagittarius," and "osteoporosis."

Justin said the only word that really gave him trouble was the seemingly simple "whether," which he had to pause and ask the definition for before spelling.

For his victory, Justin won a dictionary, a $100 savings bond and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the National Spelling Bee the week of May 24 through May 30.

The seventh-grade competition was probably the most exciting of the afternoon, highlighted when 12-year-old Jessica Smith slowly and carefully spelled "statuesque" to stay in the competition.

"I've heard and I've seen that word before, but I wasn't real familiar with it. But I kind of sounded it out and tried my best," she said later.

Jessica got it right, and a few minutes later she breezed through "blemish" to win the title.

"I just wanted to try my best and I did, and this is how far it got me," she said, smiling.

Jessica, student at Springfield Middle School, won an encyclopedia CD-ROM.

Michael Snyder, a 12-year-old from Grace Academy, won the sixth-grade title, with the word "univalve."

"I knew the word. It was just like, 'Wow,'" Michael said.

Michael won a dictionary and a gift certificate to purchase National Spelling Bee merchandise.

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