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C-h-a-m-p-s: Top spellers crowned
Thad Dugan, a Riverton Middle School eighth-grader, pondered a word during Thursday's spelling bee at Trinity Lutheran School. Photo by Wayne Nicholls

C-h-a-m-p-s: Top spellers crowned

Feb 12, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Fremont County will send four contestants to the state spelling bee this year instead of two because of scheduling confusion at local schools.

Organizers said they were late in planning the countywide bee for 2013, so state officials granted their request to host two area events instead of one. Trinity Lutheran School had a contest for students on the east side of the county on Thursday; another is scheduled for Feb. 13 at Baldwin Creek Elementary School in Lander.

The first- and second-place winners of both competitions will proceed to the 2013 Wyoming State Spelling Bee on March 9 in Rock Springs. Third place finishers will serve as alternates.

Riverton bee

Liam Harms, a seventh-grader from Trinity Lutheran School, emerged victorious Thursday after six rounds of spelling. Second place went to Trinity Lutheran eighth-grader Rachael Scheidemantel, and Riverton Middle School seventh-grader Emily Jones took third.

The event began with 16 contestants, including eight from Trinity, six from RMS and two fifth-graders from Rendezvous Elementary School. They each took their turns at the microphone, spelling words like "this" and "old" during a practice round designed to help them get comfortable on stage.

The words got progressively harder as the official competition began. Students spelled "breakfast," "goblet" and

"hummingbird" during the first round, after which three contestants were eliminated. Six returned to the audience after the second round, stumped by the words "crescent," "physician," "beneficial," "licorice," "scoundrel" and "receptacle."

After two more misspelled words in the third round, Trinity head teacher Susan Tucker said it was time for the written test. Five students remained: Harms, Scheidemantel and Jones as well as RMS seventh-grader Talyn O'Neal and RMS sixth-grader Jayce Leach. They were each asked to spell five words on pieces of paper, which were handed to judges Randy Tucker and Angie Hensley for scoring.

According to Susan, the first written round resulted in a four-way tie, so another test commenced, after which only Harms, Scheidemantel and Jones remained.

"We have a winner determined, but the other two tied," Susan Tucker said. "We'll have you all do it again, but the lucky winner won't have their paper graded."

Harms said he was glad he was exempted from the final round, as he wasn't sure about his spelling of "debut."

"I'd say (that was) my hardest word," Harms said after accepting his award.

His grandparents Carol and Leonard Harms and aunt Kendra Harms said they weren't surprised he won.

"He's very good," Leonard said.

Carol said she was grateful for the opportunity for her grandson to display his talents.

"It's a wonderful thing the school is doing for the students," she said.

Harms and Schiedemantel said they plan to go to the state competition in March, and Jones will serve as an alternate contestant. Parents, friends and the general public are welcome to attend the Wyoming State Spelling Bee and show their support for the spellers.

A welcome reception is scheduled for March 8 at the Best Western Outlaw Inn in Rock Springs, followed by the spelling bee March 9 at Western Wyoming Community College. The event begins with registration at 8 a.m. followed by a written competition that consists of 75 words supplied by the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The top spellers then move on to the oral competition, scheduled for 1 p.m. in the WWCC Theater.

The winner of the Wyoming State Spelling Bee will represent Wyoming at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., at the end of May.

For more information about the Wyoming State Spelling Bee, contact Anita Roman at the 721-8300 or at anita@wycf.org.

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