Elizabeth Hendricks, an eighth grade Mullens Middle School student, took first place in Wyoming County Schools’ annual spelling bee.

Hendricks and Chloe Hatfield, a Huff Consolidated Elementary and Middle School eighth grader, battled back and forth through five rounds. 

By the fourth round of the competition, it was only the two of them left standing.

In rounds four, five and six, they both misspelled the words given to them.

In round seven, they both spelled their words correctly.

Hendricks pulled ahead in round eight, by spelling spherical correctly, while Hatfield misspelled quesadilla.

To take the championship, Hendricks then had to spell magnolia.

Both advance to the regional competition in Charleston, where they will compete as equals.

To choose the alternate, officials then took the contest back to round three, when six contestants had misspelled words.

Those six completed another round, resulting in two remaining students.

Sarah Peery, a Pineville Middle School sixth grader, won the round and will compete in the regional contest if either Hendricks or Hatfield cannot.

For the first time, participants received souvenir T-shirts. The keepsakes were provided by Duane Blankenship, a 1982 graduate of Baileysville High School, who is now CEO of Seneca Group, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Deirdre Cline, assistant superintendent of schools, extended the welcome and commended the students for the work ethic, determination and courage required to successfully participate in the competition.

Debbie Hall, director of federal and learning enrichment programs, is the contest director. Jima Dunigan, writing coach, served as pronouncer.

Consultants Carolyn Cook and Peggy Baldwin along with Keith Stewart, Westside High principal, were judges.

Participants, in grades four through eight, included the winner and first runner-up from schools across the county. They competed as equals in the county competition.

School-by-school contestants were:

Baileysville Elementary and Middle: Connor Gibson, Alyssa Wells;

Berlin McKinney Elementary: Kerri-Ann Cook, Parker Lambert;

Glen Fork Elementary and Middle: Emily Osborne, Gabby Chewning;

Herndon Consolidated Elementary and Middle: Chloe Quesenberry, Logan Slatton;

Huff Consolidated Elementary and Middle: Marissa Roberts, Chloe Hatfield;

Mullens Elementary: Aidan Cardwell, Lexie Wikel;

Mullens Middle: Raven Poe, Elizabeth Hendricks;

Oceana Middle: Amelia Muscari, Julie Brown;

Pineville Elementary: Piper Cook, Trey Addison;

Pineville Middle: Sarah Peery, Garrett Mitchell;

Road Branch Elementary and Middle: Lexie Lusk, Havanna Paynter.

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