BAXTER — Hannah Moddes is looking for another trip to Washington, D.C.

The Forestview Middle School eighth grader correctly spelled “fibromyalgia” at the end of 17 rounds to win the Brainerd Public Schools spelling bee Tuesday, Feb. 18, beating out 11 other students.

Moddes will now advance to the Regional Spelling Bee hosted by Sourcewell March 25 in Staples. The winner of that competition advances to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., to which Moddes is no stranger.

She earned a trip to the national bee last year as a seventh grader, placing 51st out of hundreds of students. Will she be able to make a repeat trip this spring?

“It’s a possibility,” she said after Tuesday’s bee.

Moddes, the daughter of Daniel Moddes and Megan Korte, battled second- and third-place winners Ericah Folden and Lily Kopek for 10 rounds as the final three spellers. Kopek stumbled on “gannet” in round 14, while Folden fell to the word “extemporaneous” in the 17th and final round. Moddes won with “fibromyalgia” after conquering “xylyl” and “logographic” in the final rounds.

“I was not expecting to win,” Moddes said. “I wanted to go back to the regional one.”

And she will return to Staples, along with the other five top finishers: Folden, Kopek, Derek Grady-Toole, Bridget Wells and Lauren Castle.

Other spellers in Tuesday’s bee, which is a competition among sixth graders through eighth graders in the district, were Andrew Allegra, Kieran Bihler, Olivia Dehning, Laura Flategraff, Eli Karlgaard and Isabella Simota. Four other students who qualified, but were absent Tuesday were Brianna Bock, Tanner Finney, Andrew Kargel and Ethan Stay.

Regional bee

The Regional Spelling Bee is at 1:30 p.m. March 25 at the Sourcewell facility in Staples, 202 12th St. NE.

Students from Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties will compete, with the winner moving on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at