Organizers of the Mercer School spelling bee pose with winners after the bee on Jan. 31 in Mercer, Wis. Pictured are, from left: Grant Nelson, high school language arts teacher; sixth grader Zayne Earl, third place; seventh grader Colin Hartigan, second place; sixth grader Ella Torkelson, first place; and Sue Benzel, elementary and middle school language arts teacher.
MERCER, Wis. - After nearly two and a half hours of competition, sixth grader Ella Torkelson was the only student to correctly spell "bulwark" and became the winner of the Mercer School's spelling bee on Jan. 31.
Seventh grader Colin Hartigan was runner up, while sixth grader Zayne Earl took third place.
Torkelson and Hartigan moved on to compete at the next level in Ashland.
"Students move on until spelling bee winners from all over the country reach the nationals in Washington, D.C ., where they have an opportunity to earn a college scholarship," Mercer School Board treasurer Deanna Pierpont said.
"The competition was exciting as the words flowed back and forth," Pierpont said. "For awhile it looked like the second and third place students were going to have to regroup on Monday to finish the contest."
After Torkelson won, she sat down while the two boys competed for runner up. The boys spelled words including insinuate, affluent, hermitage, bountiful and charioteer until Hartigan won with the word "congressional."
"Congratulations to all the competitors in grades four through eight," Peirpont said.