Bates Spelling Champ Places Second in County Bee

Olivia Simmons, an eighth-grader at Wiley H. Bates Middle School, showed her skills at the county spelling bee on Saturday.

The final round of this year's Anne Arundel County Spelling Bee came after a 27-round duel between Severn River Middle student Robin Roper and defending spelling champion Olivia Simmons, who finished second on Saturday.

Olivia, an eighth-grader at Bates Middle School, won last year's competition with the word "Damoclean." She also competed this year against her sister, a sixth-grader at Montessori International Children's House.

Robin, an eighth-grader, beat out 31 other top spellers with her winning word, "wafflestomper"—a hiking boot with a lug sole. She earned a trip to the national competition later this year after she correctly spelled the word in the 39th round of the competition. Last year's competition ended in round 19.

Robin and Olivia dueled over the spelling of words—such as langlauf, troika, panglossian and mynheer—for more than an hour before Robin snagged the win with wafflestomper.

Promise Ohanyerenwa, an eighth-grader at Meade Middle School, placed third.

All contestants won a prize bag that contained gifts including a commemorative poster for the event, a certificate, and a $25 gift card from the 21st Century Education Foundation.

The top three finalists also received trophies and additional cash prizes.

As the bee's champion, Robin also won a Merrian-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, a one-year subscription to Brittanica Online for Kids, Webster's Third New International Dictionary, a Samuel Louis Sugarman Award certificate, an Amazon.com gift card, and a savings bond donated by Jay Sugarman, in honor of his father, a lifelong advocate of education.

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