Skip to comments.Top Colorado speller emerges from duel (FR Member's politicket's Son)
Posted on 03/30/2005 10:06:27 AM PST by Graybeard58
The 12-year-old home-schooled boy who won Saturday's state spelling bee entered the contest on impulse just a few weeks ago.
Josiah Hamill, of Franktown, began studying in early February, although many contestants prepare for months or even years. He nailed stupefacient, meaning "bringing about a stupor," to win the 65th annual competition, sponsored by the Rocky Mountain News.
Josiah's dad, Brad Hamill, leapt into the air and clapped after the last word.
Reporters surrounded the young champion, who attributed his win to God "for helping me and letting me win."
He survived the four-hour competition that ended in a grueling showdown with runner-up Zach Cantor, a sixth-grader at the Challenge School in Denver. The two battled for 45 minutes, correctly spelling words like querimonious and prestidigitator.
Josiah's victory earns him the right to compete June 1-2 at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. It will be his first trip to the nation's capital, although he'll go as a reluctant champion.
The sixth-grader, who plays baseball, piano and violin, seemed on the verge of tears after his victory Saturday, but they were not tears of joy.
In Colorado, once you win the state bee, you can never enter it again. That means this is Josiah's only shot to win the national title, and he'll probably be competing against many eighth-graders. He said he would have rather won the state contest next year to give him more time to prepare for the national bee.
"We'll talk him through it," said his mom, Miki.
Zach Cantor planned to celebrate his second-place showing at his favorite restaurant, Benihana.
Josiah had planned to play football with his dad if he lost. He didn't even think about what he'd do if he won.
The bee, held at the Colorado Convention Center, began in the morning when 263 students in fifth through eighth grades took a written test of 50 words.
The top 35, who all spelled at least 20 words correctly, went on to the oral competition.
Beforehand, parents offered plenty of hugs and words of encouragement.
Rebecca Lindner, an eighth-grader from Morrison, smiled as her dad told her, "If you're nervous and don't know the word, just remember there are only 26 letters to choose from."
After a practice round, the oral competition started with easy words like chocolate and cafeteria. By the later rounds, the stellar spellers fielded words like alstroemeria and chionablepsia.
They often looked nervously at judge Zoe Lappin, who'd ding the bell when they misspelled a word, sending them off the stage.
Pronouncer Charley Samson regularly ordered deep breaths.
In the fourth round, Kelia Tracy, an eighth-grader from Rocky Top Middle School in Thornton, knew immediately she'd misspelled portent.
"Oh, no, no, no," Kelia said, pressing her hands against her head.
The drama of the day heightened after several cell phones went off in the audience, angering the judges. One contestant was in the middle of tackling unfulfilled when a phone rang. He spelled it wrong but was allowed to correct himself after judges called the ringing "highly distracting."
By round 18, only four spellers remained: Josiah, Zach, Sarah Parsons and Gabriel D'Silva. Sarah missed ayuntamiento.
Samson then announced that the words would no longer come from the paideia, the study guide students work with before the bee.
"Audible gasp, audible gasp," Samson said, joking about audience reaction to the elimination of the paideia.
Gabriel fumbled decorticate in the 21st round. Josiah correctly spelled arpeggio and Zach nailed brannigan.
Back and forth Josiah and Zach went, each on the verge of victory. The rules say that to win, a contestant must spell two words in a row correctly.
Finally, Josiah did just that, spelling fritillary, a word that Zach had missed, and stupefacient.
The last nine standing
Here is the list of the top nine spellers from Saturday's state bee, including the last word each spelled correctly and the word that eliminated the student from the competition. Four of the top nine finishers are home-schooled.
Josiah Hamill, first place, home- schooled, Franktown - stupefacient
Zach Cantor, runner-up, Challenge School, Denver - masseuse/fritillary
Gabriel D'Silva, home-schooled, Loveland - mandir/decorticate
Sarah Parsons, Maple Grove Elementary, Golden - alstroemeria/ayuntamiento
Laura Shultz, home-schooled, Centennial - cargador/anastomosis
Lauren Thuringer, home-schooled, Centennial - galahad/perimysium
Katie Senn, Skyview Middle, Pueblo West - mnemonically/ proscenium
Patrick Renegar, Horizon Community Middle School, Aurora - trierarchy/sukiyaki
Jake Smith, Arrowhead Elementary, Highlands Ranch - colcannon/teratology
Actually, to Josiah Hamill. And to the rest of the top ten in the contest. I'm sure the parents are proud, too, but it's the kids who deserve all the credit.
Congratulations to your son and to you!
Good for him. Franktown is just up the road from us.
Great Job! Note: 4 of the top 9 homeschooled.
Way to go!
As for you, Mr. politicket, whether we congratulate or tease you depends on your hang time on that post-win jump....
I am taking my annual golf/alcohol vacation next week. It is sure to be stupefacient.
Thank you so much for letting us know and providing the link! How exciting for you and especially, your son!
;-) Let's just say: "White men can't jump!". You can actually see a 3 minute video at the link a few posts up.
Fantastic! Young Josiah could teach many members of FreeRepublic a thing, or two!
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