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Eighth grader repeats as champion of northwest Ohio regional spelling bee

Twenty-three students from across the area were competing for a trip to the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in May.

PERRYSBURG, Ohio — If you ever need your faith restored in young people, the regional spelling bee held at Owens Community College each year to determine our area’s representative to the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee is a great place to do it.

Twenty-three of northwest Ohio’s best and brightest young people took to the stage on Saturday morning for the annual event.

Competitors were narrowed down from 97 participating schools across the area, each one impressive for just making it into the field.

Kids from fifth through eighth grade each gave it their best effort but the eventual winner continued to prove tough to beat.

Eighth grader Lainey Gardner, from Crestview Middle School in Van Wert County, was once again the last one standing on the stage.

She took the top prize by spelling the word “juxtapose” correctly.

Lainey was also the winner of last year’s regional competition.

Lainey will travel to Washington, D.C. in May for the national competition where she will face 200 spellers from across the nation.

Gardner is hoping to improve on her finish in 2022 where she tied for 163rd place when she was unable to spell the word “ad nauseam”.

The Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee has been taking place since 1923.

Students at Saturday's bee represented schools from Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Lucas, Paulding, Sandusky, Van Wert, Williams and Wood counties.


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