County spelling bee champ wins again

Ward County Spelling Bee champion Madeline Rickert has her eyes set on nationals this year.

“I came so close last year,” said Madeline, a seventh-grader at Erik Ramstad Middle School who also won the county spelling bee last year. She finished in fourth place at the state competition last spring. The state winner gets to go to the national competition. Madeline has competed in the spelling bee for the past thre years.

Madeline correctly spelled the words “massage,” “tycoon,” “guitar,” “character,” “daffodil,” “gristle,” “gazelle,” “hominy,” “spaghetti,” “luau,” and “Wagnerian” to win the oral round at the spelling bee on Wednesday afternoon.

Runner-up Alyssa Ramsey, an eighth-grader at Jim Hill Middle School, will also go to the state competition. Alyssa correctly spelled the words “bangle,” “prairie,” “innate,” “vibrato,” “Siberian,” “matinee,” “fandango,” “boutique” and “odori” but fell on the word “greengage,” which is a type of plum.

“The words this year seemed easier than the words last year,” she said, adding she was familiar with most of the words that the other spellers were asked to spell.

“I knew how to spell ‘muumuu’ because I read it in a book,” said Madeline, an avid reader. She was referring to the word that stumped oral round competitor Josh Prough, a seventh-grader at Ramstad. A muumuu is a loose dress of Hawaiian origin that hangs from the shoulder.

Both girls said it also helps to be familiar with the language of origin for different words because it helps them to guess at spelling a word that might otherwise be unfamiliar. This helped Alyssa to spell the word “odori,” a Japanese traditional dance.

Madeline and Alyssa said they get nervous when asked to spell a word in front of a large audience and sometimes they forget to spell even the most common words.

She was nervous when she was asked to spell “character,” but Madeline took her time spelling the word and asked for the definition and to have it used in a sentence. Then she carefully enunciated each letter and spelled it correctly.

Spelling bee contestants are given the words used in the contest ahead of time and spend time practicing them before the competition. Both Madeline and Alyssa said their parents helped them to drill the words. They plan to practice more before the state competition. Alyssa said she really wanted to do well this year because this is the last year she can compete at the spelling bee.

Twenty-one fifth through eighth-graders competed in the oral round at the spelling bee held at Minot State University. The finalists were chosen from the students who had the highest scores on a written test given in the morning.

Oral round finalists included Kali Askvig, an eighth-grader at Ramstad; Brook Bailey, a seventh-grader at Lewis and Clark-North Shore; Anna Baldwin, a seventh-grader at Jim Hill; Taylor Berentson, a fifth-grader at Bell Elementary; Emma Condit, a seventh-grader at Kenmare; Alexa Elwess, a sixth-grader at Bell; Marley Foltz, an eighth-grader at Jim Hill; Makiah Frederick, a seventh-grader at Our Redeemer’s Christian School; Kathryn Hayes, an eighth-grader at Memorial Middle School; Ethan Hundley, a seventh-grader at Memorial; Emily Kostek, a seventh-grader at Jim Hill; Jayde Lindbo, a seventh-grader at Our Redeemer’s; Jonathon Mathistad, an eighth-grader at Ramstad; Lindsey Miller, a seventh-grader at Kenmare; Ana Morelli, a fifth-grader at Perkett Elementary; Josh Prough, a seventh-grader at Ramstad; Kobi Rolle, a sixth-grader at Sawyer; Macey Saenger, an eighth-grader at Memorial; Lora Stone, an eighth-grader at Our Redeemer’s.

Grade level winners, based on their scores on the written exam, included the following:

City of Minot: Grade 8: Alyssa Ramsey, Jim Hill, first place; Kathryn Hayes, Memorial, second place; Grade 7: Madeline Rickert, Ramstad, first place; Ethan Hundley, Memorial, second place; Grade 6: Alexa Elwess, Bell Elementary, first place; Nathon Lakoduk, Our Redeemer’s, second place; Grade 5: Ana Morelli, Perkett Elementary, first place; Taylor Berentson, Bell Elementary, second place.

Ward County schools: Grade 8: Ashley Ringen, Nedrose, first place; Reese Hennessy, Lewis and Clark-Berthold, second place; Grade 7: Lindsey Miller, Kenmare, first place; Brook Bailey, Lewis and Clark-North Shore, second place; Grade 6: Kobi Rolle, Sawyer, first place; Bradyn Lenning, Lewis and Clark-North Shore, second place; Grade 5: Alyxys Sabile, Nedrose, first place; Braden Anderson, South Prairie, second place.