2018 Cuyahoga County Spelling Bee: Here are the words that sent the winner to D.C.

March 10, 2018 GMT

2018 Cuyahoga County Spelling Bee: Here are the words that sent the winner to D.C.

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- After 23 rounds, eighth-grader Daniela Danilova secured her trip to the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee by spelling the word “barukhzy,” an ancient dog breed native to the near East.

Daniela’s first language isn’t English. Her family moved here from Russia when she was 6.

But she still breezed past more than 30 other middle schoolers to clinch the title of Cuyahoga County’s Spelling Bee Champion Saturday. The competition was presented by cleveland.com and the Plain Dealer.

Daniela said the only word that gave her pause was “visceral,” meaning related to the soft, internal organs of the body.

Her mother, who is a doctor, laughed.

Daniela goes to Lee Burneson Middle School in Westlake. She hadn’t been in a spelling bee since second grade, but she said she had a renewed love for spelling this year.

“It’s like an obsession,” she said.

Daniela said when she competes, she can usually visualize a word and its spelling.

Though she’s an avid speller, her favorite subject in school is math.

The runner-up was Nina Padanilam from St. Rita School in Solon. She lost on witloof, a plant which is sometimes called Italian chicory.

The competition ran just over three hours. Spellers were challenged with words from a multitude of backgrounds, including edelweiss, a German word, and waterzooi, which is Belgian.

“I’m glad one of us knew that word,” host Michael McIntyre joked as Henry Warren from the University School easily spelled it.

The competition was fast-paced, with five spellers out in the first round. The words they missed out on were contraband, worrisome, sitzmark (a depression made in the snow by a skier when they fall backward), fiery and leotard.

Though there were some nerves in the room, contestants still had time to have fun. McIntyre, a Plain Dealer columnist and host of the Sound of Ideas on WCPN Ideastream, pointed out the number of words related to Mexican food on the list.

There were eight that participants had to spell within the first ten rounds. They were empanada, chipotle, quesadilla, chalupa, enchilada, mole and chimichanga.

“They just keep putting more on our plate,” McIntyre said.

Contestant Kate Stephenson from Chagrin Falls Middle School asked for a definition for her word, relevant.

When told it means something closely connected or appropriate to what is being done or considered, she smiled.

“Okay, thank you, that was relevant,” she quipped to laughter in the auditorium, proceeding to happily spell the word correctly.

Daniela won an all-expenses paid trip to the national 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. from May 27 to June 1.

Here are the words that Daniela spelled to get to the national level:

forlorndiagnosispostmortem tajchimichangacontrapuntalpasteurizefurloughnarcissisticpeccadillo visceralmercerizerendezvousmukhtardebacle springerlebraggadociofoggaraschipperkenenupharkeeshondschadenfreudebarukhzy