The correct spelling of “spaghetti” and “glisten” by eighth grader Daniel Mayfield in the 25th round of the Williams Elementary/Middle School spelling bee ended the contest.
The top spot received $20 cash and the opportunity to attend the Coconino County Spelling Bee, annually scheduled for February in Flagstaff. The runner-up won $15 and is the stand in speller for the county contest, in case Mayfield is sick. Third place received $10, fourth got $5 and fifth place acquired $3. The school’s student council donated the money for the prizes.
“I studied yesterday and the day before,” said Mayfield. “And I looked over the words over vacation.”
Placing in the top during spelling bees is historically where Mayfield finds himself. Last year, he took first in the local contest.
“Last year I missed ‘precedes’ and got second at the county bee,” he said. “This is my last year (to compete at this level).”
If Mayfield wins the county bee, he’ll head to state and then national competition.
The top five participants in the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade contest were Mayfield, Ariana Tobin, second; Ashley Shelton, third; Megan Sicovitch, fourth; and Rafael Martinez, fifth.
Dacota Walker took the top honors for the elementary (third- through fifth-grade) side of the spelling bee.
“I spelled ‘emptied’ first and then ‘myth’ to win,” she said.
The elementary spelling bee only lasted 18 rounds, but there were quite a few ties that had to be settled.
“We had spell downs for third-, fourth- and fifth- place,” said Jane Kirkley, master teacher for WEMS and spelling bee coordinator.
The battle for fourth place finally ended in a tie after each contestant spelled more than a dozen words.
“We finally gave up after about 12 words,” Kirkley said.
The school has a lot of good spellers, said Sally Bond, English as a second language director and spelling bee coordinator.
“We gave them word after word,” she said. “So finally we said, ‘would you like to be tied?’”
Second place and $15 went to Jayde Swartz. Erin McNelly took third and Niki Maestas and KJ Eikenberry tied for fourth.
“Fifth place was Danielle Ellinger — a third grader,” said Kirkley. “It was her first spelling bee.”
Before the contest, Ellinger said she didn’t really study that much.
“I didn’t study. I couldn’t find it (the word list),” she said.
Next year, Ellinger said she hopes to take first place in the spelling bee.
Juanita McFarland, library aide, and Nancy Rowley, librarian, were the judges.