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In round 43 and nearly three hours into a regional spelling competition, Shayley Martin correctly spelled “dowager” to win.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Reigning regional spelling bee champ Shayley Martin did it again.
Shayley, a 12-year-old seventh-grader at Floyd Elementary School, won this year’s 40th annual Roanoke Times Regional Spelling Bee for the third year in a row.
Shayley’s mom, Lydeana Martin, said the 43 rounds of spelling, which lasted nearly three hours, were nerve-racking.
“It was intense,” she said.
Out of 17 spellers at the start of the bee, it came down to just three — Shayley, second-place winner Saumya Sharman of Radford and third-place winner Abram Clear of Smyth County — by the 11th round.
Abram’s last word was “fidgety” while Saumya went out on “styptic.”
Finally, in round 43, Shayley correctly spelled “dowager” and won the bee.
“We’re extremely excited,” Lydeana Martin said. “But you always feel bad that everybody can’t win.”
Shayley will go on to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., at the end of May.
Shayley said she didn’t need to do too much studying before the regional bee, although she did study a lot in the past few days leading up to the competition. But she said she’ll be studying for the national bee.
“I read a lot,” she said, which helps her practice words year-round.
Shayley said she reads a lot of fiction and nonfiction , and loves reading cookbooks and cooking blogs online. She even has her own cooking blog, TheCornucopiaCook.com.
Lydeana Martin said she would helped Shayley with some studying, such as calling out words for her to spell, but that Shayley had studied much more independently this year than before. She said that in past years, their family has hosted small spelling bees in their home in Floyd, which they might do again to help Shayley practice.
The national bee will release a list of words for part of the elimination rounds on April 1, Lydeana Martin said, but other portions of the elimination round could include any word in the dictionary.
Shayley said the elimination round at the national level has really hard words. But she eagerly looks forward to the trip. “It’s really cool to go,” she said.
The trip to Washington won’t be about just spelling; the city has lots to offer for the young cook.
“She loves local food,” Lydeana Martin said about her daughter.
Martin said that although Shayley is eligible to participate in the spelling bees through eighth grade, this might be her last year. Floyd County students go directly from elementary school in seventh grade to high school in eighth grade, so unless the high school hosts a bee for eighth-graders next year, Shayley might not be able to compete.
Even if this is Shayley’s last year of competition, she and her parents are pleased she’s headed to D.C. for a third time.
“I’m really happy she’s going again,” Lydeana Martin said. “She doesn’t do sports. Reading and writing and food are her things. So this is like the Super Bowl for her.”
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