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In the end, it was “tortoise” that won the race, or rather, the bee.
For the second year in a row, Dillon Brock won the Hardin County Derby Festival Spelling Bee, which took place Tuesday at the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center at John Hardin High School.
Dillon, an eighth-grader at West Hardin Middle School, came out on top after correctly spelling “tortoise.”
He once again will move on to the Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee, which is March 9 at the PNC Club at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville. Dillon tied for fifth place in last year’s state bee.
Nineteen students, in grades three through eight, participated in the local bee. They represented 12 Hardin County Schools elementary schools and five HCS middle schools, as well as St. James Regional Catholic School and F.A.I.T.H. homeschool group.
The bee lasted four rounds, with 18 students moving to the second round. Only six made it to the third round, after words such as “blasphemy,” “monochrome” and “unorthodox” proved tricky for the contestants.
Four contestants in the third round faltered at the words “cotillion,” “inadequacy,” “covalent” and “periwinkle,” which left Dillon and runner-up Aysia Williams, a fifth-grader at Woodland Elementary School, to make it into the fourth round.
Aysia misspelled “upholstery” in the fourth round, leaving Brock the winner once more.
Dillon said he anticipates the challenge of the state bee.
“Well, I feel really successful,” he said.
Aysia and Dillon both said they extensively studied the book of words, which is provided to contestants, extensively. Aysia also used the practice of spelling out the word with her finger before answering.
“I feel really good knowing that I could get second place,” she said.
Dillon said he will continue to study the book, as well as the dictionary, to prepare for state competition.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.