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Sophie Nilsen excels at spelling bee

Sophie Nilsen placed in the top 10 at the 33rd Skagit Valley Herald Regional Spelling Bee in Burlington. - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
Sophie Nilsen placed in the top 10 at the 33rd Skagit Valley Herald Regional Spelling Bee in Burlington.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

You have to be very cautious when answering at a spelling bee, as Langley Middle School seventh-grader Sophie Nilsen discovered Saturday at the 33rd Skagit Valley Herald Regional Spelling Bee in Burlington.

Nilsen placed seventh out of 43 spellers at the March 21 bee.

After correctly spelling the words “cosmetic,” “plateau,” “piazza,” “relevant” and “pyre,” Nilsen tripped up on “chary,” a word meaning “to be wary.”

“I thought it had an “i” at the end, but it doesn’t,” she said Monday. Sophie said that she has a great memory and reads a lot, but doesn’t use word drills too much.

She added that she’s going to enter the contest next year.

“I’m enrolling in a special 36-week class on the Internet that teaches winning strategies for spelling bees,” Sophie noted.

The final two spellers went head-to-head for 10 more rounds with the last two winning words “oblivion” and “rapturous” while the second-place student was eliminated with “sorghum.” The winner was Elysa Stone, an eighth-grader from Anacortes Middle School, who won last year as well. She received an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. in May to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

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