LIMA — Melissa Bryan was so confident she would win the Allen County Spelling Bee on Saturday she didn’t study.
The Spencerville Junior High School eighth-grader wasn’t even a bit nervous.
“I thought I was going to win. I was confident. I’m a pretty good speller,” she said.
But she had to spell word after word with it coming down to a battle with Isabel Maselli, a seventh-grader at Bluffton Middle School.
Finally, Isabel misspelled “Barrio.”
“It had two Rs and I spelled it with one R,” Isabel said.
Melissa said she knew she had won after Isabel only said one R.
She said she didn’t have much worry or nervousness during the hourlong bee. Only once did she struggle before going back to her strategy of writing the words out on her hand.
“I had a momentary lapse when I couldn’t remember if 'alleviate’ had one L or two,” she said.
But she nailed it and with it the title of top speller at this year’s bee. She also won $100 for her efforts, which she has plans for the money.
“I’ll probably buy a phone case and hair dye. That’s what I want,” she said.
Melissa is a natural when it comes to spelling. She did not study for the bee but recommends others to prepare themselves if they want a good chance at winning.
“Try to study, unlike me,” she said.
Isabel was pleased with her performance. She studied this past week and on her way to the bee. As other students misspelled words, she grew more confident as she remained. She also grew more excited.
“I actually thought I would win it,” she said.
The third-place winner was Logan Orians, a seventh-grader from Elida Middle School.
Words the children had to spell included: ‘Olympian,’ ‘influenza,’ ‘desperado,’ and ‘gregarious.’
Altogether 16 students, each representing their own school, were in the bee. All were winners at their schools. The bee features children from the fourth through eighth grades, said Judy Chaffins, the director of gifted education for the Allen County Education Service Center.
While Melissa is the exception to win without studying, Chaffins said it usually takes a lot of hard work to win.
“The ones who study, intensely, are the ones who are most successful. Effort does pay off,” Chaffins said.