Speller takes bee title

Two fifth-graders shined during an annual spelling bee, but a seventh-grader claimed the win — and could finally call the title her own.

Wapakoneta Middle School student Loren Hire placed first during the Wapakoneta Middle School Spelling Bee on Thursday afternoon.

“It feels really good, because the other years I got second and third,” Hire said of the win.

In 2010, during her fifth-grade year, she placed third, and in 2011, her sixth-grade year, she placed second, both behind LeeAnn Jose.

After becoming a finalist for the past two years, Hire took home the win and will be competing in the regional spelling bee competition, which is scheduled for March 23.

Hire spend numerous hours preparing for the spelling bee, and it paid off.

“I read over the words and read them out loud and spelled them to myself,” Hire said after the spelling bee in the Wapakoneta Middle School auditorium.

The daughter of Tracey and Patrick Hire said there are some hard parts to the competition.

“It’s hard when you get up there to spell because you get nervous and your brain stops working right,” Hire said.

Spelling comes to natural to Hire, and she said her favorite subjects are English and math.

Fifth-grader Rhiannon Phillips took second place during the school wide spelling bee.

Hire and Phillips misspelled their words, “indivisible” and “intuitive,” during the same round, so they went another round and Phillips misspelled “integral” and Hire spelled “advocate” correctly and then spelled equivalent for the win.

“It feels really good,” Phillips said after she earned second place. “My friends have been helping me and I want to thank them for that.”

One friend in particular who has been a big help is Morgan Cox, who earned third place in the spelling bee.

“We helped each other out,” Phillips said.

The daughter of Alicia and Andrew Phillips would study approximately three hours a night to prepare for the school spelling bee.

Phillips said it feels great to represent the fifth-grade and place in the spelling bee.

“It feels really good,” Phillips said. “Considering we are a lot younger, they (sixth- and seventh-graders) had an advantage I thought. It made me feel good and confident.”

Cox said she studied approximately two to three hours each night to prepare.

“I was really happy I got in the top three,” Cox said. “Those words were really hard.”

Cox said that she enjoys spelling, as spelling and Spanish are her favorite subjects.

Phillips and Cox also noted they ace their spelling tests at school by getting A’s on them.

Other participants in the spelling bee on Thursday were fifth-graders Sharolyn Balbaugh, Amber Bruno, Alex Daum, Bailey Ford, Jesse McKenzie, Emma Rex and Sherry Zhao, sixth-graders Kaleb Brown, Mattison Davis, Jenna Dodds, John Doll, Tabitha Zweibel, Caitlin Puff, Haley Schattschneider, Logan Shirk, Jacob Sturgill and Danica Zink, and seventh-graders Alaina Fenton, Tanner Hurley, Kristian Martin, Wyatt Moyler, Carley Neu, Savannah Oen and Conner St. Laurent.

“I can’t believe the number of rounds and words we went through today,” moderator Julie Miars Golden said after the competition. “The students have been well prepared.”

In the Wapakoneta High School eighth-grade spelling bee competition, which was held at an earlier date, Jose was the winner and Claire Burton was named the runner-up.