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Top spellers compete

Modified: Monday, Feb 6th, 2017

Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian Scotts Valley Middle School seventh grader Cara Mauerman turns in her spelling chart to a volunteer adult Saturday at UC Santa Cruz during the Santa Cruz County Spelling Bee.

SANTA CRUZ — About 100 of the county's top spellers, grades 4-9, competed Saturday in the annual Santa Cruz County Spelling Bee.

Held at the UC Santa Cruz campus, the students grappled with words like echelon, schism, caricature, rescind and opaque with dozens of volunteers lending a hand.

Cara Mauerman, a seventh-grader from Scotts Valley Middle School, said she found the word list “hard.”

“It’s really tough,” she said during a break. “Some of the students seem to get every word. I think I’m doing OK.”

In the 7-9 grade division, Rina Rossi of Pacific Collegiate School claimed first and will advance to the State Spelling Bee.

In second was Andrew Crabtree of Ocean Grove Charter School, who will also advance to the State.

In third was Gunnika Kapoor of Ocean Grove Charter School.

In the Elementary Division, grades 4-6, first place went to Judah Kim of Ocean Grove Charter School who will advance to the State.

In second was Tristan Torres of Rio del Mar Elementary, who now advances to the State.

Zane Escoto of Ocean Grove Charter School came in third.

More than 40 public and private schools in Santa Cruz County were represented. Each school selected two top spellers to send to the Spelling Bee sponsored by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education.

Gautham Sathish is an eighth-grader from Scotts Valley High School.

“So far I only missed three words,” he said. “There are some hard words. I missed echelon and chicanery, I know that for sure.”

Sathish said he did spend considerable time pouring through a book of suggested spelling bee words to prepare himself.

The statewide bees will be held in the spring. 

Special this year was the recognition of Spellmaster Mardi Browning for her 30 years of service in the Elementary Division.

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