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Spelling suits Skjelver, 8th-grader wins bee

By Staff | Feb 28, 2014

Tim Chapman/PCT Pierce County Spelling Bee champion Libby Skjelver spells a word for the judges on Wednesday at Tilman Hovland Auditorium.

Libby Skjelver was just one word away from a perfect score in the 10-question oral round on Wednesday in the Pierce County Spelling Bee at Tilman Hovland Auditorium.

The final word was anomaly. Skjelver’s misspelling of the word proved an anomaly as she aced the first nine words and held on for the Pierce County title and a trip to the state bee.

“I don’t know what anomaly means,” said Skjelver, eliciting a roar of laughter from herself, judges and organizers after the competition.

“I studied on Saturday. My mom read off the words and spelled them for her. I didn’t think I did very well until (it was announced). I wasn’t expecting to win.”

The Rugby High School eighth-grader will be joined by classmate Sara Stier at the N.D. State Spelling Bee on March 21 in Bismarck. Stier was second out of the six contestants and secured the other automatic qualifier.

Skjelver missed on two answers in the 15-question vocabulary round – a new category – and was 19 for 25 in the written round. Stier was 6 for 10 in the oral round, 11 for 15 in vocabulary and 16 for 25 in the written round.

The new champion was happy to return to the competition after missing last year’s due to sickness. Spelling has suited her well throughout grade school as she won the third- and fourth-grade titles.

“I suppose, it’s pretty exciting,” Skjelver said. “I didn’t expect this. -We’ll probably do more of the same thing (to prepare for state).”

In the vocabulary round, contestants received words on a projection screen and had to choose the correct definition from two choices. For example, juxtapose was a word with the following options: a.) to place side by side, or b.) to appear in court. Challenging words included hackamore, mesmerize, prerogative, monotonous and gregarious.

The 10 words in the oral round were chocolate, tycoon, gardenia, fiasco, bequeath, finesse, roustabout, insidious, melancholy and anomaly.

Also competing were Wolford School students seventh-grader Koby Marchus and eighth-grader Justin Yoder. Seventh-graders Nathan Livedalen and Landon Rost competed from RHS. Marchus was named the seventh-grade champion.

Students received a short list of words to review ahead of the bee.

Ely Elementary hosted a spelling bee at the same time with three of the top four spellers by grade coming from Little Flower Catholic School.

Little Flower’s Mikaylee Livedalen, Kiara Larson and Lauren Casavant earned top honors in grades 3, 4 and 5, respectively. Ely sixth-grader Victoria Tryba won her division.

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