Jackson kid wins state spelling bee

March 28, 2018

Many landlocked Wyoming teenagers aren’t familiar with the word “krill,” small crustaceans that live in the ocean.

But that word won the Wyoming State Spelling Bee over the weekend for Jackson Hole Middle School student Beckett Lucas-Griffin.

Lucas-Griffin will now go on to compete with spellers from around the country and represent the Cowboy State in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., at the end of May. He beat 50 spellers from 18 counties by scoring in the top 30 in the 75-word written round; he made no mistakes in 27 rounds of oral competition.

The eighth grader won the middle school’s competition last year, too, and took second place at the state spelling bee in 2015. To reach the state bee, spellers had to win their county’s spelling bee, and it was Lucas-Griffin’s last year to qualify for nationals.

The pack was a tight one at the spelling bee, held at Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs.Students Lucas-Griffin, Finnegan Willis, Shiva Yeschlur, Laelim Jung, Aileen McGahuey, Gabriel Daniel and Pascuall McDaniel went eight rounds without any eliminations, raising the tension. By round 24 Lucas-Griffin, Willis and Yeschlur were in a three-way competition to determine the winner.

In the 26th round Willis missed “shirring,” and Yeschlur missed “bletting,” leaving Lucas-Griffin to spell through one more round. He successfully spelled “krill” to complete the championship round. Yeschlur was 2016’s Wyoming State Spelling Bee Champion and has attended nationals.

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