Pine River-Backus sixth-grader Torry Hirschey claimed victory at the 2013 Pine River-Backus Spelling Bee on Wednesday, Feb. 20. Fellow sixth-grader Noah Brogle claimed second place.
Up until the end, Hirschey and Brogle gave each other fives between words. In round 15, they faced off. Hirschey correctly spelled “monumental,” and Brogle responded by correctly spelling “caravan.”
In round 16, Hirschey spelled “elaborative” flawlessly, but Brogle dropped the ball by spelling “provincial” with a t — “provintial.”
Hirschey advanced to round 17 alone. He needed to spell the word “incoherently” to win the bee. If misspelled, Brogle would rejoin the competition and the bee would enter round 18. But it proved to be the last round as Hirschey successfully spelled the word.
At the start of the bee, eliminations were few and far between, with the first coming in the fourth round with “itself.” Then there was one elimination every other round following until round 10, almost an hour into the event. From round 10 on students were eliminated one per round. Rounds 13 and 14 brought multiple eliminations in each round, until round 15, when there were only two.
With the progression of the rounds, words also became more difficult. In the beginning, words like “she” and “off” only posed a danger to those who stumbled over their own words while spelling quickly, as was the case with “itself.” Later words, such as “ferocious,” “magnificent” and “convention,” proved a little more difficult.
The bee consisted of students from four grades. In grade five were students Sara Johnson, Ethan Tulenchik and George Davidson. Grade six was represented by Hirschey, Joseph Merritt and Brogle. Nick Ackerman, Ashley Nordlund and Shaun Jacobsen represented grade seven. Eighth-graders were Joe Davidson (older brother to George Davidson), Autumn Crawford and Troy Staples.
As a reward, Hirschey received a $10 Dairy Queen gift certificate and a one-year subscription to Encyclopedia Brittanica. He will move on to the regional Lakes Spelling Bee in Brainerd on March 20. Brogle also received a one-year subscription to Encyclopedia Brittanica for second place. All participants received award certificates.