Humphrey Middle School 7th grader John Belser knew he had some big shoes to fill. After all, his three older sisters all had registered high finishes in the Valley View School District 365U Spelling Bee, with one of them even winning the Will County Spelling Bee and competing in the Scripps Howard Bee in Washington two years ago.
But Belser was up to the task Tuesday night, spelling “dressage” correctly in the 11th round and then spelling “imbibe” for the win over Humphrey 8th grader Janielle Javier who had missed on “détente.” Lukanic 6thgrader Franki Miller was third, having missed “inselberg” in round 10.
Miller, Belser, Jane Addams 8th grader Michael Edwards, Brooks 8th grader Chris Bavaro and Martinez 8th grader Martin Rayos Del Sol all qualify for the March 6 Will County Spelling Bee at Lewis University.
Belser, whose family admits they sit around the dinner table and have impromptu spelling bees, correctly spelled floss, mart, persimmon, whirlpool, cadenza, postmortem, paparazzo, workmanship, agitation, and insinuate.
Javier was perfect on bundle, stringy, talc, belay, charioteer, astonish, farthing, piety, honcho and propulsion.
Miller correctly spelled mizzle, harpoon, motif, cognition, malaise, hermitage, tattle, tofu and bezoar.
Fourth place went to Bavaro of Brooks who missed on maraschino in round 7. Edwards of Jane Addams, Lukancic’s Kaitlyn Jones and Rayos Del Sol tied for 5th place. Mark Lou of Jane Addams was 8th Alina Khan of Brooks and Martinez teammates Isidro Gomez and Derrick Perkins tied for 9th. Tosin Owolabi of Jane Addams, Bobby Pippenger of Brooks, Anthony Talaganov of Lukancic and Ximena Nevarez of Humphrey finished 12th.