BAXTER - "Armageddon" and "dysphasia" were the words that helped Brainerd eighth-grader Anna Swanson win the Brainerd School District Spelling Bee Wednesday at Forestview Middle School.
Swanson, 13, the daughter of Bruce and Connie Swanson of Deerwood, won the sixth- through eighth-grade district spelling bee in 14 rounds, beating 16 other students.
Swanson and six other students qualified at the district bee to advance to The Lakes Bee, sponsored by the Brainerd Dispatch and the National Joint Powers Alliance, which will be Feb. 22 at Washington Educational Services Building in Brainerd. Students from Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties will compete in the Feb. 22 bee. The regional winner will go on to compete at nationals this May in Washington, D.C.
Anna Swanson paused before spelling a word in a tiebreaker with Adam Warren (at left) in the Brainerd School District Spelling Bee. Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood» Purchase reprints of this photo.
The six other students who advanced are seventh-graders Emily Bukowski and Zach Hanson and eighth-graders Nick Greatens, Matt Hammermeister, David Jensen and Adam Warren.
Seventeen students competed in eight rounds and Greatens, Hammermeister, Jensen, Swanson and Warren were guaranteed a spot at regionals because they were the only students who spelled all their words correctly. This left two spots open for regionals. Six students who misspelled one word went on to compete in a tiebreaker.
Bukowski and Hanson came out on top. Bukowski earned her spot after three rounds and Hanson earned his spot after six rounds. The four students who lost in the tie-breaker competition were seventh-grader Naomi Swanson and eighth-graders Jordan Kittlesen, Brendan Pelkey and Nick Rohr.
Anna Swanson won the bee and acted a little surprised after her sister, Naomi Swanson, lifted her up at Forestview Middle School in Baxter. Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood» Purchase reprints of this photo.
After the seven regional qualifiers were determined, the five students who had no spelling errors participated in a tiebreaker to determine who would be the school district winner.
After three rounds, Anna Swanson and Warren were the only ones to spell all three words correctly. The two had to compete in another three rounds. Swanson misspelled one word and Warren misspelled two words, giving Swanson the win.
"I'm elated," said Swanson on her win. "I'm amazed that I won. I didn't think I'd make it to regionals because I didn't last year."
Brendan Pelkey reacted to misspelling "juggernaut" in one of the tiebreakers in the bee. Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood» Purchase reprints of this photo.
This was Swanson's third year competing in the district bee and she qualified for regionals in sixth grade and now as an eighth-grader. Swanson plans to practice a lot before regionals with help from her sister, Naomi Swanson, who also competed in the district bee.
"We practiced a lot for the bee and we stayed up late last night practicing," said Swanson.
Swanson said all her words were easy to spell, even the one she got wrong, which was "dermatophyte."
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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