Another hard fought V-I-C-T-O-R-Y

Timler returning to state spelling bee

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Erin Timler, right, Bonduel School District’s representative, spells a word in the first round of the regional spelling bee Wednesday in Sousa Hall at Bonduel High School as fellow competitors David Uttenreither, of Tigerton, and Ally Schultz, of St. Martin, watch. Timler is returning to the Badger State Spelling for a second consecutive time after winning the regional bee.

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Spelling bee competitors, from left, Fiona Hoffman, of Gresham, Anna Etten, of Shawano, Bailey Grosskopf, of Bowler, and David Uttenreither, of Tigerton, wait for the regional spelling bee to begin Wednesday night. Etten was the runner-up in the bee, while Grosskopf took third.

Erin Timler won the regional spelling bee for the second year in a row Wednesday night at Bonduel High School.

For the second competition in a row, Timler, who is in eighth grade at Bonduel Middle School, faced a tough competitor, and this time, it wasn’t her younger sister.

Timler and Anna Etten, a sixth-grade student from Shawano Community Middle School in her first year of competition, squared off against each other for nearly 20 rounds of the 32-round bee before Timler achieved victory by spelling “woebegone” and “dermatology” correctly.

Timler spelled “woebegone” incorrectly at the Bonduel School District bee in January, but she said she’d been studying hard since then. Timler got that word after Etten misspelled “statuesque.”

The repeat win almost didn’t happen, though.

After more than a dozen rounds of correct words between the two that included two instances of officials skipping ahead to more complicated words, officials halted the bee to confer and determine where in the more advanced words to proceed. Once that happened, Timler and Etten found themselves spelling word after word wrong.

It looked like Etten might upset Timler when she spelled “predominant” correctly, but she spelled “solarium” with an i instead of an o, and the bee continued.

Timler’s regional win advances her to the Badger State Spelling Bee, which will be held at 1 p.m. March 25 at Mitby Theatre at Madison Area Technical College. In 2016, she finished 19th out of about 40 spellers.

Timler was not expecting the competition at the regional bee to be as fierce as when she went toe to toe for 25 rounds with her sixth-grade sister, Abby, at the Bonduel bee.

“I expected people to be good, but I didn’t know it was going to be that long again,” Timler said.

Timler and her sister, who won the regional bee two years ago, have been quizzing each other on spelling words for years, and that quizzing continued as Timler prepared to defend her regional title. It was that continuous studying that helped her to nail down “woebegone,” she said.

This will be Timler’s last chance at state glory, as the spelling bee is for students in the eighth grade and younger. She’s eager to be setting her sights higher this year, and a win at the state bee would be a chance to prove Bonduel’s nickname remains the Spelling Capital of Wisconsin.

“I’m so excited to be going back,” Timler said. “It’s going to be fun, meeting all sorts of new people. It’s pretty cool. I’m both excited and nervous.”

Jen Beaumier, the coordinator for this year’s regional bee, was excited to see that there were nine competitors this year, after only six in the 2016 bee.

“It was hard to find words they couldn’t spell,” Beaumier said. “I was afraid we might have to break out the dictionary and start looking for words.”

The dictionary almost made an appearance at the Bonduel bee, as well, when Timler and her sister finally established who was first and who was second with only three words remaining on the list.