Spelling bee champion

Lauren Carlson of Central Texas Christian School shows off her trophy after winning the 84th annual Bell County Spelling Bee at the Temple Civic Theatre in Temple on Saturday.

Lauren Carlson, an eighth-grader at Central Texas Christian School in Temple, correctly spelled “ogress” and won the 84th Bell County Spelling Bee at the Temple Civic Theatre on Saturday.

Before spelling the winning word, which means female monster, she correctly spelled “ferine” after Bridget Hudnall, a seventh-grader at Providence Preparatory School in Belton, put an extra “r” in it. The two girls went head-to-head in the UIL difficulty sequence spelling list after Kaylah Taylor, a sixth-grader at Academy Middle School, misspelled “fealty.”

Carlson received the traveling trophy from Pattie Marek, Newspapers in Education coordinator for the Temple Daily Telegram, which produces the spelling bee. Carlson also won a plaque and $100. Hudnall received a plaque and $50, and Taylor a plaque and $25.

In the closing minutes of the spelling bee, Carlson and Hudnall successfully dealt with such words as “baize,” “pavid” and “gabion.”

Then Carlson incorrectly spelled “sampan” as sampon. Hudnall got it right, but then put an extra “n” in “canard.”

It wasn’t over yet, because Carlson stumbled on “napery,” spelling it knapery. Hudnall spelled it correctly, but tripped up on “ferine.”

Carlson, the daughter of Vicki and Craig Carlson of Belton, said she won second place in last year’s bee.

“I had a few difficulties, but the Lord helped me through it,” she said of this year’s contest. “He’s my conqueror.”

Since the competition is for middle schoolers, Carlson won’t be able to enter next year.

“I love spelling and academics, but I want to be a musical theater performer, or an opera singer,” she said. “But wherever God leads me, I will go.”

Hudnall, the daughter of Chris Hudnall and Jill McGowan of Temple, said second place was like winning to her.

“I’m good at math and spelling, but I much prefer things like drawing and story writing,” Hudnall said. “If I have kids when I grow up, then I want to read my stories to them at bedtime.”

“One of the reasons I got up here was luck,” she said. “Because if I’d gotten one of the harder words early on, then I would have been out.”

Her father said he would try to get her back in the contest next year. “She always does her best,” he said.

Taylor is the daughter of Paula and William Passmore of Temple. “I feel good,” she said. “I figured I would get eliminated close to the end, but I really wanted the trophy.”

She said she wasn’t familiar with “fealty,” the word she missed. “I thought I was going to get enunciation wrong, but then I got it right,” she said.

She said she wants to be a chef when she grows up, and that she hopes to be back next year.

Shortly after the mid-morning break, the field was reduced to six contestants, including Jared Yost, a seventh-grader at Providence Preparatory School, Madison Graeff, a seventh-grader at CTCS, and Selah Kurtz, a sixth-grader at Holland Middle School. When Graeff spelled equidistant as equadistant, she left it to the three finalists.

D. Kirkland, a speech instructor at Temple College, returned for the third time as pronouncer. Linda Barnes, who works in public relations at TC, served as a spelling judge for the ninth time. New judges this year were Leigh Gardner, Temple Public Library director, and the Rev. Roscoe Harrison, pastor of the Eighth Street Baptist Church in Temple.