By Colin Foster
CASSTOWN — The 2014 Miami County District Spelling Bee title belongs to a Bethel Bee.
Bethel eighth grader Jared Milliman won the title Tuesday evening at the Miami East Elementary/Junior High School auditeria. He correctly spelled the word “vice versa” in the final round, following a misspelling by Covington sixth grader Gavin Lutz.
It was Milliman’s second appearance at the Miami County District Bee. Three Bethel Local School students have finished runner-up at the event since 2003, including Garrett Wemmer last year, but none have won the title.
“This is the second time I’ve been here. I came here in sixth grade, and last year I didn’t make it past the school bee. But this year, I finally won this one. It feels great — I’m so excited right now,” said Milliman with a huge smile on his face.
Lutz and Milton-Union sixth-grader Hanna Nutley were co-runner-ups.
No spellers were eliminated in the first two rounds, but the words increased in difficulty in the third round. As a result, five spellers were eliminated in that round, and the rest followed shortly after until it was down to Milliman, Lutz and Nutley.
Milliman said he had been practicing almost every night for the competition the last couple weeks. He said the moment his final word was announced, there was little doubt in his mind that victory was on the horizon.
“That was a little bit of a shock. (That word) was a little bit easier than I thought it would be,” he said.
The annual spelling bee is sponsored by the Miami County Educational Service Center. It brought together ten school champions from Bethel Elementary School, Bethel Junior High, Covington Elementary, Covington Middle School, Miami East Elementary, Miami East Junior High, Milton-Union Elementary, Milton-Union Middle School, Newton Elementary and Newton Junior High.
Milliman earned the right to represent Miami County in the Dayton Daily News sponsored regional bee on Feb. 22.
“I’m very excited. I’m glad that I get to represent Miami County and Bethel,” Milliman said.
Other participants included Thomas Moore (Bethel Elementary), Grant Humphrey (Covington Elementary), Jasmyn Maingi (Miami East Elementary), Andrew Jackson “AJ” Christian (Miami East Junior High), Lillian Macke (Milton-Union Elementary), Jaden Stine (Newton Elementary) and Amanda Bissett (Newton Junior High).
Milliman and Lutz were awarded plaques at the conclusion, which were donated by Troy Sports Center.