On hearing the word “hemochromatosis” that she needed to clinch The Blade 2001 Northwest Ohio Spelling Bee, Priyanka Jain waved off the moderator's offer to give a definition and use it in a sentence.
“Are you sure?” Frank Venner, former WTVG news director, asked as the contest reached its end last night at the Student Health & Activities Center at Owens Community College.
The 11-year-old seventh grader at Ottawa Hills High School nodded and without hesitation spelled the name of a disease associated with cirrhosis of the liver. “I knew that word really well,'' she explained afterward. “I studied that section of the booklet a lot.”
Her final rival, Lisa Gumerman, 13, was eliminated when she misspelled “plenilune,” meaning the time of full moon. The seventh grade student at Central Middle School in Findlay finished second.
Although Miss Jain's winning word spells almost as it sounds, she had to spell correctly “plenilune,” and other equally difficult words in earlier rounds, including “katabatic,” meaning the downward motion of air and “formicivorous,” an adjective meaning to feed on nuts.
The teen said she has been studying spelling words every night since last fall before her school district's first spelling bee in December.
She will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, a Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary, a $100 savings bond, a $50 gift certificate to Media Play, and movie passes to National Amusements theaters.
Miss Gumerman, who finished second, receives a $25 gift certificate to Media Play, the dictionary, a Scripps Howard gift certificate for spelling bee merchandise, and other items.
The two were among four finalists, all girls, who reached the last of at least a half dozen rounds needed to winnow a field of 56 contestants. The contest stretched over one and a half hours, a test in itself for contestants normally not used to sitting in one place for that length of time.
Finishing third was Erika Hadley, 14, an eighth grader at McCord Junior High School, who wore thick-knitted, black-and-white gloves during most of the contest. “They are my favorite gloves and lucky ones, so I like to have them,” she said. She went so far as to share one of the gloves with Vanshika Vij, a contestant from Perrysburg Junior High School. But while wearing it, Miss Vij missed “dulinea,” a word of Spanish origin meaning sweetheart.
“She asked for luck, but it was only lucky for me,” Miss Hadley said.
The spelling bee is open to the top spellers in grades five through eight from schools in Lucas, Fulton, Wood, Hancock, Henry, Ottawa, Putnam, Seneca, and Wyandot counties.