Spelling bee lasts 16 rounds
After 10 rounds in the Osakis Spelling Bee on Jan. 15, two finalists out of a starting field of 19 remained — eighth-graders Isaac Maddock and Larissa Hoffarth.
They successfully spelled "fiddle-faddle" and "buzzard" to survive the 10th round that knocked out three contenders with the words "miniature," "paramedic" and "antagonism."
Maddock and Hoffarth battled through five more tense rounds, correctly spelling fugitive, culprits, peasantry, humanitarian, percussion, diabolical, miscreant, abolition, martyr and extricates.
The crowd of students and family members watching the competition at the Osakis High School Auditorium held their breath with each word and burst into applause at the end of each round.
Finally, in round 16, Maddock correctly spelled "garbanzo," a type of bean, while Hoffarth was tripped up by "diminutive," meaning tiny.
Maddock then had to correctly spell one more word to win the competition — "couriers." Without a pause, he buzzed through all eight letters to win the trophy.
He will advance to the Regional Spelling Bee in Fergus Falls at Lakes Country Service Cooperative on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
Maddock is used to the pressures of the bee. He was the runner-up in last year's competition and won the event in 2017 as a sixth-grader.
The five best spellers from grades five through eight competed in the Osakis Spelling Bee.
Tina Eberly, Osakis language arts teacher, was the local coordinator for the bee. Osakis Review Reporter Roberta Olson pronounced the words and Osakis Review Editor Al Edenloff was the judge.