For the second consecutive year, Robbie Getz of Lawrence, the reigning state spelling champion, will represent Douglas County in the state spelling bee.
He made it two in a row after a "beguiling" win at the county level Saturday morning.
Getz, an eighth-grader at Lawrence's West Junior High School, finished first among eight contestants in the final oral spell-down of the 1990 Douglas County Spelling Bee at Quail Run Elementary School.
Getz captured the title when he correctly spelled the word "beguiling," which, among other definitions, means to win the attention or interest of or to amuse, according to the Oxford American Dictionary.
Finishing second was Laurel Babbit, a seventh-grader at Baldwin Junior High.
SHE WAS eliminated when she misspelled "attenuate" and Getz spelled it correctly before spelling "beguiling" to win the competition. "Attenuate" is defined as making slender or thin, or making weaker or reducing the force or value of something.
Third in the contest was Jesse Nelson, an eighth-grader at Central Junior High School.
Getz, after winning last year's state spelling title, said he hadn't planned to participate in the contest this year because of other commitments. Only days ago he decided to enter this year's competition, Getz said after winning the county title.
"I just decided I would," he said and now added that he'll be trying for a repeat at the state level.
According to Mike Eltschinger, principal of India-Kaw Valley schools and moderator for Saturday's competition, the county spelling bee began at 9:30 a.m. Saturday with approximately 125 entrants ranging from the fifth to eighth grade.
EACH SCHOOL in the county could send two contestants each from the fifth and sixth grades, and each junior high could send as many as eight contenders from grades seven and eight combined. Spellers were from the Lawrence, Eudora and Baldwin school districts and also St. John's School and the Douglas County Christian School.
Those 125 students were then narrowed to two per grade level for a total of eight through a preliminary write-off.
The eight top spellers then advanced to the final oral competition later in the morning, where it took approximately 80 words to determine a winner, Eltschinger said.
The six other finalists were Jason Dunavin, Eudora, seventh grade; Margaret Zeddies, Sunset Hill, sixth grade; Anne Thissen, Pinckney, fifth grade; Catherine Anderson, Sunset Hill, fifth grade; and Marissa Lingen, a sixth-grader from the host school, Quail Run.
PRONOUNCER for the county spelling bee was Frank Smysor, a local businessman with Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. Judges were Jayne Polcyn, language arts coordinator for the Lawrence School District, and Tom Jerome, principal at Nottingham Elementary School in Eudora.
Getz now heads to the All-Kansas Spelling Bee finals which begin Saturday morning, March 31, in the Shawnee Room at the Kansas Expocentre, 17th and Topeka, in Topeka.
This is the 37th year for the annual spelling competition. The winner at that contest will then receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the National Spelling Bee, as well as other prizes. Getz and other county winners will receive a certificate of championship during the state finals.