WASHINGTON, D.C. — Skagit County representative Elisabeth Ince ended her Scripps National Spelling Bee run Wednesday by correctly spelling two words, but it wasn’t enough to land the 11-year-old a spot in the semifinals.
Ince correctly spelled “rapport,” or a relation characterized by harmony, in round 2 of the competition Wednesday morning. Ince said on Tuesday that French-derived words were among her least favorite to spell, “but I knew this one.”
In round 3 that afternoon, she correctly spelled “byssoid,” a Greek word that means cottony. Both times she asked for the language of origin and took her time thinking through the spelling before she began.
“I had practiced this word before, so I definitely knew how to spell it,” Ince said of “rapport.” “I was just making sure I didn’t mess up and say a letter I didn’t need to or go too fast.”
Ince was speller No. 269, which put her just nine spots away from the last competitor, giving her plenty of time to “be bored and anxious” on stage as she waited for her turn.
Round 1 of the competition consisted of a computerized spelling test Tuesday morning. The judges considered those test scores to narrow down the list of 223 spellers who made it through the live spelling preliminaries to just 46 spellers who will proceed to semifinals on Thursday.
“I feel good about spelling my words correctly, but I’m kind of sad that I got out,” Ince said after learning the results on Wednesday.
Speller Téa Freedman-Susskind, a seventh-grader at Lakeside Middle School in Redmond, was the only speller from Washington state to make it into the semifinals. Many of the 46 spellers proceeding to the next round have competed in the Bee before, some of them more than once.
This was Ince’s first time competing in the National Bee, after beating out her brother, Logan, to win the Skagit County Regional Spelling Bee. Before that, she won the classroom and school competition at Broadview Elementary School in Oak Harbor.
Ince’s parents, Rhonda and Clarence, and her brother accompanied her to the Bee in Washington and will stay until Saturday. They plan to spend the rest of the week visiting sites in the nation’s capital and rooting for Téa.
“I’m very proud of her,” Rhonda Ince said after learning the results. “To be part of this group of spellers is pretty amazing, coming from our little town. I think she did really, really well.”
ESPN will air the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championships at 5 p.m. PST Thursday. Viewers can follow the semifinals and other details of the competition on ESPN3 and on Twitter @ScrippsB.