After 16 rounds at Saturday’s Scripps Regional Spelling Bee, only Jenna Giles of Gananda and Tyler Friel of Canandaigua remained standing.
The two went word for word for 10 more rounds until Giles emerged victorious after Friel misspelled indigenous. The Gananda fifth-grader then correctly spelled ephemeral and virgule to capture first prize and a trip to compete in the 92nd annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. May 26 to June 1.
The regional qualifying contest, held at Hobart and William Smith Colleges Saturday morning, was the 26th annual and co-sponsored by Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES and the Finger Lakes Times.
Eighth-grader Fletcher Dickmann of the Marcus Whitman school district finished third and Kierra King, a sixth-grader also from Gananda, finished fourth.
“I participated last year for the first time and did OK. I was determined to do better this year,’’ Giles said while accepting congratulations from others.
“I studied the words extra hard this year. I really put a lot of effort into it, mostly with my Dad,’’ she added.
Giles said it seemed to her that the words got a little shorter — and to her thus a little easier — in the later rounds.
“I’m looking forward to going to Washington and coming back here next year to defend my title,’’ she said.
Her mother, Jolly, agreed her daughter stepped up the studying this year. They both said Jenna’s father, Greg, was deserving of most of the credit for readying Jenna for the competition.
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