Mansfield eighth-grader Liz Adetiba headed back to national spelling bee (no relation)

FORT WORTH — After three hours, 285 words and 29 rounds, Liz Adetiba emerged Tuesday as the winner of the Star-Telegram’s Regional Spelling Bee after successfully spelling impetigo.

“Oh my gosh!” she said, jumping when the caller announced that she was champion.

Adetiba, 14, an eighth-grader at James Coble Middle School in the Mansfield district, beat out 30 other area competitors by correctly spelling words like sorghum, estuary, expectorant, tillage, reticulated and alexia. In addition to $200 and a first-place trophy, Adetiba won an expense-paid trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., where she will compete in May.

“I’m so happy,” said Adetiba, who also made it to nationals in 2006, when she lived in Wichita Falls. “This has been one of the greatest days of my life.”

And a nerve-racking one for her mother, who could hardly watch from the audience.

“I don’t know where she got it from — I am not a good speller,” Bola Adetiba said, laughing. “I am so proud of her.”

The three-judge panel said there were exceptional spellers in this year’s competition, in the Round Up Inn of the Will Rogers Memorial Center. Last year’s champ, Hannah Chi, is too old to participate, but her younger brother, Joseph, made it to the ninth round, when kuchen got the best of him.

“They were very well-prepared,” said Linda Lee, who has been judging the spelling bee for about 15 years. “It has never gone this many rounds.”

Thirty-one students started the competition and, by round 16, six were still left. Two rounds later, the field had been whittled down to three: Adetiba; Amy Nguyen, 13, an eighth-grader from William James Middle School in Fort Worth; and Ben Benjadol, 7, a second grader from Wilshire Elementary School in Euless.

The three went head-to-head for three rounds when Benjadol, an outgoing competitor who would sometimes spell out the words using an imaginary pencil, was knocked out by fortuitous.

That left Nguyen and Adetiba, both serious, almost stoic, spellers. Adetiba had the chance to take the title in the 26th round when Nguyen misspelled geogenous, but Adetiba also misspelled her word, kestrel.

“I don’t know what went wrong there,” Adetiba said later.

Adetiba soon had another chance, however, when the bell dinged, indicating Nguyen had misspelled occlusal.

The caller gave Adetiba impetigo, a noun that means an acute contagious skin disease.

Adetiba had no problem with it and was quickly declared the winner, securing herself a spot in the Scripps National Bee.

She said she is more seasoned now than in 2006, when she was 11. She didn’t do well at nationals that year, but she insists that she is now wiser — and has a bigger vocabulary.

She also spent her entire spring break studying.

“I didn’t go anywhere or talk on the phone or watch TV,” she said. “I cracked down and I studied the whole entire spring break. I have been working toward it. This is my last year that I was eligible to compete, and I really wanted to make it back and do a better job than I did last time.”

~ by ADETIBA on March 25, 2009.

2 Responses to “Mansfield eighth-grader Liz Adetiba headed back to national spelling bee (no relation)”

  1. i won 3rd place in district in 6th grade so we might be related haha

  2. Hey, I almost made it to the finals in 5th grade BUT I misspelled FU FU……."foo-foo." They didn’t teach us Yoruba spelling in school! ( – :

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