"Proveracate," "flambeau," "unguents," "proboscis," "lobelia," "jacquerie."
These are just some of the words that tripped up the final two spellers during nine rounds of competition to determine the champion of the Pequot Lakes School District spelling bee Friday, Jan. 25, in the Gathering Room at the middle school.
In the end, fifth-grader Cade Gravdahl edged out eighth-grader Anne Lindholm to claim the title by correctly spelling "potency" and "humidity" back-to-back.
"I was nervous," said Gravdahl. "I didn't know what word was going to come next."
Some words given to the competitors, such as "xanadu," "sagacity" and "frippery," were unheard of to parent spectators and student spellers alike.
Four students each from grades 5-8 participated to be the top speller in their grade. Following that competition, all 16 spellers had a chance to win the district-level bee.
Along with his district win, Gravdahl won the top spot among his fellow fifth-graders. Lake Rowland won for sixth grade, Betsy Boyda for seventh and Lucas Taylor for eighth.
After the grade-level contest, all spellers returned for the district "miss-and-out" contest. Age no longer mattered, and only the best spellers would remain.
Gravdahl was one of the youngest spellers competing that morning, beating students three years older than him for the title of district champion.
"It feels really great," he said with a smile. "It makes you feel more confident."
He said that becoming the champion was a surprise, but he had studied a lot before the bee and had hoped that it would be enough to bring him the win.
Gravdahl will move on to the regional bee Tuesday, Feb. 9, in Staples. The winner of that competition wins a trip to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.