PLAIN TWP. The Schwartz family finally has a regional spelling bee champ.
Jordan Schwartz, an Alliance Middle School eighth-grader, topped the field of 45 spellers on Saturday at Glenoak High to win the Canton Repository 73rd Regional Final Spelling Bee.
His winning word was 'transposable.' And it came in the 11th round, after the other remaining speller, sixth-grader Aiden Matthews, fell out in round 10 on 'acculturation.'
"After the school bee, I really started studying," said Schwartz, explaining that he studied for about one hour a day for the past three weeks to get ready.
Last year, Schwartz finished 5th in the regional bee after he misspelled 'isinglass.' Two years ago, his sister Julia Schwartz placed 7th in the regional when she missed 'kitsch.'
"I'm actually probably better at math than spelling," he confessed.
Jordan Schwartz, son of Gary and Gwen Schwartz, is pretty good at these competitive bees — period. In January, he won the geography bee for the third consecutive year, then last month he won his second consecutive Alliance spelling bee.
Saturday's win qualifies Schwartz for the 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 26 to 31 in Washington, D.C.
The runner-up, Matthews, from New Philadelphia Welty Middle School, made it through nine rounds, often delivering animated sighs of relief along the way.
The contest was down to two spellers at that point. But Matthews knew he was in trouble when pronouncer M.J. Albacete gave him 'acculturation' in the 10th round.
"I never heard of it before," Matthews said afterwards.
After Matthews missed, Schwartz was asked to spell 'daubster.' But when Albacete inadvertently said a letter in providing an alternate pronunciation, the rules required him to skip that word and move to the next word on the list — transposable.
"I knew I had it," Schwartz recalled.
Julia Swope, of Dover Middle School, and Kimberly Christ, of Tuscarawas Valley Middle School, tied for third. Both misspelled words during the 9th round.
The Regional Final Bee, sponsored by Malone University, included spelling qualifiers from elementary and middle schools in Stark, Carroll, Holmes and Tuscarawas counties.
Here are some of the words that tripped up students: crescent, herbivore, potash, transect, clapboard, semantics, mootable, mattock, junta, pitchblende, bravura, kama and folate.
And here's a sampling of some spelled correctly during the 2 1/2 hours: igneous, greengage, catkin, persimmon, palette, doctrinaire, megalopolis, alliteration, virtuosa and cedilla.
As the champion, Schwartz and a parent receive an all expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national event. In addition, he gets a Merriam-Webster unabridged online subscription, the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, a watch from Julz by Alan Rodriguez and a one-year subscription to Britannica Online Premium.
Reach Tim at 330-580-8333 or
On Twitter: @tbotosREP