EATON — Tutu. It’s a short skirt that is made of many layers of material and is worn by a ballerina. It was also the winning word in the 2016 Preble County Spelling Bee.
Zoe Utsinger correctly spelled the word in the 14th round to secure her place as the top speller (between third and eighth grade) in the county in front of a modest crowd at the Performing Arts Center at Eaton on Thursday, Jan. 21.
She and runner-up Anna Wible went toe-to-toe (or word-to-word) for seven rounds, culminating in the 13th round where Utsinger correctly spelled potpourri before Wible was tripped up on Iroquois.
The third place finisher, Alex Newport, lasted until the 11th round as well.
The 17 other participants included Sierra Allison, Madison Barnett, Sydney Bezich, Tyler Crammer, Dylan Childers, Parker Finney, Kylie Gadd, Jenna Garden, Alexis Helsley, Henry Huff, Ethan Huysman, Nathan King, Kaimee Knisley, Jenna McCoy, Abigail Smeltzer, Lillian Stevens, and Emma Upham.
The third round seemed to be the toughest for the spellers as seven of them were eliminated in that round. There was one speller eliminated in both the first and second round while two were eliminated in the fourth, three in the fifth, and two more in the sixth.
All spellers were winners and runners-up from their respective schools’ competitions.
The pronouncer for the spelling bee was Daryl Michael from the Preble County Educational Service Center and the judges this year were Sharon Cobb, Barbara Cox, and Kathleen McCreary. The event was coordinated by Kathy Erbaugh from the Preble County ESC.
The event organizers also expressed appreciation to the individual school spelling bee coordinators: Kaitlin Lawson from Bruce Elementary in Eaton, Nick Flynn from Eaton Middle School, Amy Skinner from National Trail Elementary, and Vicki Howard from National Trail Middle School , Gina Back from West Elkton Intermediate Preble Shawnee, Jennifer Williams from Preble Shawnee Middle School, Darcy Fitch from Tri-County North Elementary, Stephanie Caudill from Tri-County North Middle School, Marissa Jackson and Elizabeth Woodrum from Twin Valley South Elementary, and Margaret Krauss from Twin Valley South Middle School.
The spelling bee is sponsored by the Preble County Educational Service Center Governing Board as well as the Ohio Lottery, who sponsored the $100 membership fee, allowing all the schools to register for free.
Reach Jeremy at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.