Merrell wins county spelling bee
Hillsboro Middle School eight-grader Mesa Merrell approached the Marion County Spelling Bee competition with a stay-calm, lead-on mentality.
“I just prepared all I could, then calmed myself with a few deep breaths and went for it,” she said. “Determination gets you much farther than nervousness.”
Merrell said she prepared for the spelling competition by going over lists of words her principal Greg Brown gave her. She practiced on her own several hours every day after school in the weeks leading up to the county competition on Feb. 6 at Peabody-Burns Elementary.
“I guess I went a little overboard,” Merrell said. “I wanted to do as well as I could. I didn’t know if I could win or not, I just wanted to do very well.”
Merrell said the first 15 rounds of the spelling competition were easy.
“The words were not really challenging at all,” she said.
It was not until there were about 10 competitors left spelling that Merrell began to wonder if she could win it all.
“I spell without really thinking about it,” she said. “I just worked hard to stay calm and say the word and spell it.”
Merrell spelled “incoherently” correctly to win the competition. It was the 205th word in the competition. Lanna Wagner of Goessel placed second, and Lindsey Sigel of Marion was third.
Merrell and Wagner will travel to Fort Hays State University in Hays on March 2 to test their spelling skills in the state competition. Merrell said she is studying online lists of words in preparation, and she hopes to represent her county to the best of her ability.