Fletcher Ard repeats as County Spelling Bee champion

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 2/17/17

LOXLEY, Alabama – Elberta Middle School student Fletcher Ard repeated as county spelling bee champion, out-spelling a field of 32 hopefuls to claim the 2017 Baldwin County Spelling Bee Championship …

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Fletcher Ard repeats as County Spelling Bee champion

2017 Baldwin County Spelling Bee Champion Fletcher Ard of Elberta Middle and runner-up Kate Ginger of Bayside Academy.
2017 Baldwin County Spelling Bee Champion Fletcher Ard of Elberta Middle and runner-up Kate Ginger of Bayside Academy.
JOHN UNDERWOOD / GCM STAFF PHOTOS
Posted

LOXLEY, Alabama – Elberta Middle School student Fletcher Ard repeated as county spelling bee champion, out-spelling a field of 32 hopefuls to claim the 2017 Baldwin County Spelling Bee Championship Thursday, Feb. 9 at the Loxley Civic Center.

A total of 35 qualifiers from Baldwin County’s elementary, intermediate and middle public schools, plus qualifiers from Bayside Academy in Daphne, Bayshore Christian in Fairhope and Central Christian School in Robertsdale, earned the right to compete for the title of Baldwin County’s top speller. Three competitors were unable to attend.

A total of 114 words were spelled through the 10 rounds of competition. The field was almost cut in half following the first two rounds of competition with six spellers eliminated in the first round and nine more in the second, narrowing the field to 17.

The field was cut to 11 following the third round of competition with five more spellers eliminated to leave just six competitors by the sixth round.

All six survived the next two rounds of competition before that field was cut in half and just Ard and Bayside’s Kate Ginger were left by the ninth round.

It was over quickly from there as Ard successfully spelled the word “hygiene” after Ginger failed to spell the word “impasse” to claim his second straight spelling bee crown.

This was Ard’s fourth year of competition and as a seventh grader, he has one year left, said Bee coordinator Becky Turner, consulting teacher with the Baldwin County School System’s Elementary Education Department.

Ard will represent Baldwin County in the state competition, which is sponsored by Adventure Travel, March 11 at Alabaster First United Methodist Church in Shelby County near Birmingham, with Ginger as an alternate should Ard not be able to attend the competition.

“He did great in the state competition last year and I know he will represent our area well this year,” said Turner, adding that Ard finished as the runner-up in last year’s state competition.

Winners from state competition advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee which will be held in May in National Harbor, Maryland, near Washington, D.C.

The nationally televised event is sponsored by the G.W. Scripps Company, based in Cincinnati. Its website, spellingbee.com, lists winners dating back to 1925.

Other competitors were: Noelani Rayborn, Bay Minette Elementary; Hannah White, Bay Minette Intermediate; Anne Nelson, Bay Minette Middle; Abigail Doremus, Bayshore Christian; Melia Fielder, Central Baldwin Middle; Angelina Caserta, Central Christian; Christian Glass, Daphne East Elementary; Bethany McClurg, Daphne Middle; Madison Anderson, Delta Elementary; Jessi Dade, Elberta Elementary; Jackson Lyles, Elsanor School; Kendall Mauli, Fairhope Intermediate; Davis Amare, Fairhope Middle; Carley Clemmons, Foley Elementary; Nicholas Hamby, Foley Intermediate; Madison Smith, Gulf Shores Elementary; Kimberly Hiller, Gulf Shores Middle; Carter Nist, J. Larry Newton; Grace Morin, Magnolia School; Katelyn Hossley, Orange Beach Elementary; Ceanna Livermore, Perdido; Ethan Brock, Robertsdale Elementary; Kharli Kamphuis, Rockwell; Abigail Glass, Rosinton; Chloe Ash, Silverhill; Bankstyn Langley, Spanish Fort Elementary; Even Ren, Spanish Fort Middle; Quincey Walters, Stapleton Elementary; Jayden Santos, Summerdale; and Jaidyn Graf, W.J. Carroll Intermediate. Cooper Niebuhr of Foley Middle, Chloe Yuhasz of Loxley Elementary and Lyric Knight of Pine Grove Elementary qualified for the competition, but were unable to attend.

Baldwin County’s Catholic Schools compete with Mobile County schools in district competition to qualify for the state bee and are not included with the other schools.