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Fifth-grader wins Pequot Lakes district spelling bee

Connor Olson, a fifth-grader, beat 15 other middle level contestants in the Pequot Lakes School District spelling bee Friday, Feb. 7, in the Pequot Lakes High School auditorium.

Olson won by correctly spelling the word “astrolabe,” which is an instrument formerly used to make astronomical measurements. He also correctly spelled “smithereens,” “arraignment” and more.

The annual competition among fifth- through eighth-graders was broken up into two sections: the grade level bee, in which contestants competed against other spellers in their grade; and the district bee, in which all contestants competed against one another.

Sixteen students competed, representing the four best spellers from each grade level.

Olson not only won the district bee, but also his grade-level bee. He said after the competition that he had studied the Scripps Spelling Bee word lists all week long, remarking on how he had studied as many words as he could in school, too.

Madeline Sherman, sixth-grader, was district runner-up. She correctly spelled “encryption,” “unctuous” and more.

Other difficult words that challenged spellers included “sapphire,” “aficionado,” “pariah,” “isochronous” and many others.

For the grade-level competition, the sixth-grade winner was Shayna Schmidt, seventh-grade winner was Brandon Wallin and eighth-grade winner was Allie Miller.

Grade-level winners each received a $25 gift certificate to Turtle Town Books & Gifts in Nisswa. The district runner-up received $50 to Turtle Town Books and the district winner was awarded $75 to Turtle Town Books.

Olson advances to the regional spelling bee, The Lakes Bee, at 1 p.m. Thursday, March 6, at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd. The regional winner will advance to the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee in May in Washington, D.C.