Eight finalists in fifth through eighth grade faced off in the St. Gregory's School spelling bee Tuesday morning and went through several faultless rounds before the first student stumbled.
But as the competition went on, the words got harder, and inevitably the spell-down narrowed to a two-person field with eighth-grader Bailey White and seventh-grader Sabrina Olson going head to head.
Then Olson stumbled over "primitive," leaving White as sole heir to the school's 2012 spelling crown.
Fittingly, the winning word was I-S-O-L-A-T-I-O-N — as in all by yourself.
White is the daughter of Darren and Maribeth White of rural Maryville. Olson is the daughter of Anthony Olson and Eva Peng.
The other six finalists included Kenzie Martin, fifth grade; Owen Graham, fifth grade; Mason Walk, sixth grade; Samantha Mendoza, sixth grade; Patrick Baker, seventh grade; and Tilena Conover, eighth grade.
White will now move on to the Nodaway County bee set for 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Nodaway-Holt R-VII High School in Graham. The winner there qualifies for regional competition in St. Joseph in March.
Also recognized at St. Greg's this week was the school's Mathcounts team, which took part in regional competition in St. Joseph on Feb. 2 and will send three members to the state contest March 9 in Columbia.
Finishing in the top-10, and so qualifying for state, were Sabrina Olson, seventh grade, third place; Maddie Holtman, seventh grade, fifth place; and John Zimmerman, eighth grade, ninth place.