Hillsboro middle schooler wins annual county-wide bee

It took 184 words and 13 rounds before the 24 contestants in this year’s Marion County Spelling Bee were whittled down to a single winner last Wednesday at Goessel.

Elise Heyen, an eighth-grader from Hillsboro Middle School, and Adam Sheffler from Peabody-Burns Junior High, were embroiled in a one-on-one spell-off for three rounds when Sheffler stumbled on the word “acceleration.” Heyen spelled the word correctly and then spelled “analyst” perfectly to bring home the title.

She and Sheffler will represent Marion County at the state spelling bee later this spring. Derek Stuchlik from Marion Middle School placed third.

Heyen said afterward she was familiar with each of the words she was given during the contest.

The words grew increasingly more difficult as the rounds progressed. Heyen’s words were: sand, display, swift, aspiration, violence, gopher, systematic, notified, ingenuity, fungi, malfunction, crustacean, acceleration, analyst.

Grade school and middle school students from each of the five districts in the county participated in the event, plus four qualifiers from county home schools.

The following students qualified to compete.

Centre Elementary: Paul Potocnik, Cory Braden.

Centre Middle: David Dotson, Cole Svoboda.

Goessel Elementary: Erin Brubaker, Josh Schmidt.

Goessel Junior High: Austin Unruh, Paige Booton.

Hillsboro Elementary: Claire Heyen, Jacob Humber.

Hillsboro Middle: Elise Heyen, Kiara Espada.

Home schools elementary: Konrad Krispense, Madison Dicks.

Home schools junior high: Hunter Thurston, Kolton Krispense.

Marion Elementary: Caitlyn Maloney, Sara Coon.

Marion Middle: Caroline Collett, Derek Stuchlik.

Peabody-Burns Elementary: McKenzie Ensminger and Jamie Henry.

Peabody-Burns Junior High: Andrew Sheffler, Thane Hurst.

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