The Park Record Spelling Bee winners determined
Synchronous. Pasteurize. Wampum. As Henry Iverson and Jena Mahoney confidently spelled out word after word, it seemed neither was ready to give up the title.
But after Mahoney’s slip on the word “ubiquitous,” all eyes were on Iverson. He heard the word, took a breath and carefully gave each letter. P-O-I-N-S-E-T-T-I-A. When the pronouncer said, “correct,” he gasped and smiled wide. He had won.
At the annual The Park Record Spelling Bee on Tuesday night, Iverson, a sixth-grader from Rocky Mountain Middle School in Heber City, took first, while Mahoney, a seventh-grader from Timpanogos Middle School in Heber City, walked away with second. Hannah Potter, an eighth-grader from Weilenmann School of Discovery in Park City took third.
After beating out 41 students from grades four through eight from around Summit and Wasatch counties, Iverson said that he was in shock.
“It’s just incredible,” he said. “I didn’t expect to get this far.”
This was the first time he had competed in the regional spelling bee, and he said that he barely qualified for the competition itself. During his school’s qualifying round, he was the last person to make it.
He said that to prep for the Park Record bee, he reviewed words that he had missed in the past, such as “pentathlon,” the word that took him out of the competition at his school. When he was given the word for his second-to-last one, he was happy that he had put in the work.
As he prepares for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. at the end of May, he said that he is only going to increase those practice hours. The Park Record will send Iverson to the nationally televised event.
Mahoney, who moved up one place from her third-place finish last year, said that she will keep practicing as well. She plans to return next year for her final chance for the top spot.
At the second- and third-grade competition prior to the official spelling bee, two second-graders from Parley’s Park Elementary School battled for first place. Chloe Llewellyn was surprised to win after spelling “denim” correctly. She immediately turned and hugged her friend and fellow contestant Nidhi Penubothu.
“Nidhi’s one of my best friends and she did a great job,” Llewellyn said.
There were some words that Llewellyn said she almost missed, such as “pretzel” and her winning word, but when she got them right, she was “full of relief.”
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