Spelling smarts appear to run in the Lin family.
Forestview Middle School seventh-grader Ammy Lin said past experience helping her older brother Jimmy study for the spelling bee was one of the things that led to her success Wednesday. The seventh grader took home the first place trophy at the 2015 Lakes Bee, besting 31 other spellers in a swift 12 rounds at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd.
The daughter of Yi and Xi Lin of Baxter, Ammy is now headed to Washington, D.C. for the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee, May 24-29.
The field narrowed quickly as students from schools in Crow Wing, Morrison, Wadena, Todd and Cass counties competed for top honors. After the second round, only half of the field of 32 spellers remained as words like "spitz," "muumuu," "hassock" and "falsetto" tripped up the talented tweens.
Ammy successfully spelled "grabble," to search with the hand, and "confidence" in the first and second rounds. Oliver Knudson of St. Francis of the Lakes Catholic School in Brainerd, an eighth grader who claimed second place honors, made it through with "crimson," a deep purplish-red color, and "honcho," a person in charge. Third-place speller Hannah Paulbeck, a seventh grader from Aitkin, safely navigated "macaroni" and "belladonna," a poisonous plant with red flowers.
In the third round, four more spellers took their bows after misspelling "refugee," "gordita," "odori" and "wanderlust." By Round 8, just five spellers remained: Ammy, Oliver, Hannah, sixth-grader Aidan Hagen of Mary of Lourdes Catholic Middle School in Little Falls and Andrew Hoplin, sixth grade, Pine River-Backus school. Ammy mastered "sequin," Oliver "muslin," Hannah "ridiculous" and Andrew "thesaurus." A stumble on "chary," or cautious about something, sealed Aidan's spelling fate.
The word "satori," or sudden enlightenment representing the spiritual goal of Zen Buddhism, took out Andrew, while Hannah correctly spelled "vulcanize," Oliver "omnipotent" and Ammy "Boswell." The Round 10 word "homburg," or a man's felt hat with a stiff brim, eliminated Hannah, leaving the last two spellers to battle for glory.
Victory came soon thereafter for Ammy. She correctly spelled "relevant" while "hygiene" threw Oliver for a loop. To win, Ammy need only spell one more word correctly, and she did, nailing "benevolent," or well meaning and kind-hearted.
The whole contest lasted little more than 1.5 hours and 12 rounds, while some local bees in the recent past have continued for more than 70 rounds.
Ammy's parents said they're excited she's on her way to the national competition. Ammy said she plans to spend more time studying for her trip to the nation's capital, and it's likely her brother will be helping her prepare.
The Lakes Bee is sponsored by the National Joint Powers Alliance. In addition to a trip to the national bee, Ammy also received a 2015 United States mint proof set and a one-year membership to Encyclopaedia Britannica online premium. The top three all received copies of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Hexco Academic "Valerie's Spelling Bee Supplement" and trophies.
Every student participating received medals.