For the third year in a row, Shayley Martin, a 12-year-old from Floyd County, triumphed in the regional spelling bee. It was probably the longest and most grueling in the history of that match.
Saumya Sharman of Radford placed second and Abrahm Clear of Smyth County placed third. There were 17 spellers in all on the stage at the beginning.
Sponsored by The Roanoke Times, the bee went more than 40 rounds — and lasted almost 3 hours. A large chunk of those rounds were with only the three crackerjack spellers above on the stage.
Among the words that trio spelled correctly were: cynosure; jnana; blitzkrieg; taiga; fennec; intaglio; corpuscle; maraschino; witloof; gesundheit; apartheid; Baedeker; cappelletti; garcon; philhellenism; voortrekker (which is pronounced FOR-treker); and uitlander (pronounced ATE-lander). Seven of those 17 words my spell-checker is marking as misspelled, by the way.
Abram Clear went out on “figdety.” The final rounds were with only Shayley and Saumya on the stage.
Saumya Sharman finally succumbed on the word “styptic.”
Shayley correctly spelled “dowager” to claim her crown. She goes onto the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day weekend. Good luck, Shayley!
Here are the words that bedeviled the other spellers Saturday.