Spelling bee 2011 summarized

The spelling bee is over, and keeping track of what I wanted to track was more difficult this year because of my setup. My TV and my desktop face opposite directions, so I kept turning back and forth from one to the other between spellers and not catching all the Twitter commentary (or making my own, for that matter). My followers are probably relieved at the latter.

A huge congratulations to Sukanya Roy of Pennsylvania for taking the coveted winner trophy with “cymotrichous”, meaning “having wavy hair”. The sentence for that word involved Bon Jovi and his music, which I found amusing but the kids might not have gotten. I might be surprised; these kids are extremely well-rounded.

And of course, congratulations go to Laura Newcombe of Toronto, runner-up and one of my personal favorites, and to all the spellers who spelled their way to D.C.

You can’t talk about this year’s bee without talking about the four rounds of epic. The last five spellers remaining, including Laura and 2010 finalist Joanna Ye, all spelled their words correctly from rounds eleven through fourteen–four rounds straight. After the first round pronouncer Dr. Bailly moved on to more difficult words with more obscure origins and even a few unknowns. The kids kept nailing them. They were phenomenal. Finally Dakota misspelled “zanja” in round 15 and got eliminated before all four remaining spellers got their words right again. At first I wondered whether we’d see another streak; after all, there is technically no time limit, and the championship list doesn’t get used until two spellers remain.

The round after quickly reduced the field to two, and then Sukanya was declared champion a few words later. Twenty rounds, folks. That’s how great these spellers are. That’s probably why I was never one of them, despite getting pretty darn close.

Next up: getting really confused about why my TV’s on ESPN next time I turn the thing on.

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