State spelling bee a written journey for Basalt teen | PostIndependent.com
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State spelling bee a written journey for Basalt teen

In the unforgiving world of spelling bees, one misplaced letter in a six-syllable word can have but one result: You lose. But none of the students who made it to the Scripps Howard-sponsored State Spelling Bee in Denver last weekend were losers. After all, each of them proved they were better spellers than their peers in spelling bees in their home school districts. That’s how Basalt Middle School eighth-grader Dan Holloran made it to the state bee. Earlier this month, he won the honor of being the Roaring Fork School District spelling champion. But once Holloran and his fellow darn good spellers made it as far as the state bee, they learned quickly that a few ill-positioned letters could leave them wondering how they placed among their peers. All Holloran knew was that he and 236 other students earned the honor to take a written spelling test – the round where the walking dictionaries are separated from the darn good spellers. “I didn’t get past the written round,” he said after the competition.But 34 spellers did, making Holloran only a darn good speller – something most spell-check addicted folks only wish they could become. Each speller was given a sheet with blanks for 50 words, each of which were given to the students orally. Those who had jotted down the most correctly-spelled words made it to the first oral round, where the high-pressure lexicographical showdown really begins. When Holloran didn’t make it past the written test, he soon discovered there was no ranking that shows how students in the written round scored, said Denver Newspaper Agency promotion manager and spelling bee spokeswoman Carol Cline. The honor of making it to the state bee would have to suffice. For the record, the Rocky Mountain News – whose parent company sponsors the state and national bees – reported Monday that Kayla Hudson of Centennial survived the state bee’s 21 rigorous rounds. The winning word: “Refulgent.”Hudson will continue on to the national spelling bee in May in Washington, D.C. Saturday was Holloran’s last shot at the state bee because he’ll be a freshman at Basalt High School next year, and high-schoolers don’t have a spelling bee in which to compete. He said he was glad he made it to the state bee in the first place. “It was pretty fun,” he said. “I don’t really know how good I did, but I got to state.”Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext. 520bmagill@postindependent.com


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