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Crane student places seventh in statewide spelling bee
Lights, camera — spell.
Victoria Pena, 14, who placed seventh in the recent statewide spelling bee, said the event was nerve-wracking to say the least, especially with the added pressure of being filmed for statewide television.
"It was really fun, but it was kind of weird, though, because they were filming it so there were parts before it and during it they had people clap. So, it was kind of weird, but it was cool."
Pena, an eighth-grader from Crane Middle School who won the Yuma County Spelling Bee in February, competed against 26 other spellers at the Arizona Educational Foundation Spelling Bee on March 23 in Phoenix.
"They were all really good," she said of her competitors. "I was really scared, actually."
After making it through a large portion of the bee, "irradiate" was her pitfall.
"I had that word before, so I don’t really know why I didn’t know how to spell it ... I think it was partially because I was really nervous."
As she will be entering high school next year, this was her last year to compete. She said she was glad to have finally made it to the state bee after five years of competing in spelling bees.
"I was really upset that I couldn’t get further than I did, but it’s been a good experience."
Pena said she was very impressed by the word knowledge of the first-place winner, Christopher O’Connor of Pima County, a seventh-grader who won by correctly spelling "temblor" in the 12th round.
"Christopher O’Connor, that kid is smart," she said. "He had to spell words like ‘brouhaha.’ Everyone was so confused and that kid just pulled it out of thin air."
All 27 contestants, ranging in age from 9 to 14, received a choice of The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy or Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, courtesy of Harrison Middleton University.
A broadcast of the 2013 Arizona Spelling Bee will air at 8 p.m. Friday on Eight, Arizona PBS. Viewers can also watch the event on the Eight website www.azpbs.org after the air date. Visit www.azedfoundation.org for more information about AEF.
Sarah Womer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.