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Hancock Co. teen not among bee's remaining entrants


Spencer Hipsher, 13, a student at St. Wendelin in Fostoria, with his parents, Ron and Lynn Hipsher, is shown after winning the Northwest Ohio Spelling Bee. He was eliminated from the national competition after three rounds on Wednesday.

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WASHINGTON -- After three rounds of rigorous spelling, the judges of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Wednesday night narrowed the contestant pool from an original 278 spellers to 50, without a northwest Ohio resident among the group.

According to the Scripps Bee Web site, Spencer Hipsher, 13, did not make the cut.

Spencer, a student at St. Wendelin School in Fostoria, was eliminated from the national competition after he spelled liaise and poimenics incorrectly in the second and third rounds, respectively.

The contest featured children from ages six to 15 who placed first in their regions' spelling bees over the past few months. Spencer, who lives in Hancock County's Washington Township, qualified for the national competition in March when he beat 50 other spellers to win the 2012 Blade Northwest Ohio Championship Spelling Bee. His winning word was lenitive, which means alleviating pain or acrimony.

During round one on Tuesday, the competitors were given a computerized spelling test. Although the test consisted of 50 words, only 25 were selected to count toward the contestants' scores, with each correct word scoring the speller one point.

Rounds two and three took place on stage Wednesday, and each competitor was given the opportunity to spell one word in each round. Contestants were awarded three points for each correct word. During round two on Wednesday morning, Spencer misspelled liaise. That afternoon, he missed poimenics.

Following round three, the judges totaled each contestant's score and determined the bee's semifinalists. The advancing spellers achieved scores of at least 23 points, according to the Scripps Web site. They will compete at 10 a.m. Thursday in hopes of moving on to the championship finals Thursday night.

Neither Spencer nor his parents could be reached for comment Wednesday.

-- Mel Flanagan

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