AVON — It came down to the battle of Middies.
During the first preliminary spelling bee, Midview Middle School eighth-graders Joel Greenly and Olivia Silvano went head to head with only three words spelled between them before Joel, 14, was declared the winner.
However, securing the final two spellers proved to be a bit challenging.
For four rounds, no one was able to correctly spell a word. According to the rules of the annual spelling bee, there needs to be at least two spellers from the final regular rounds who correctly spell their final words before advancing to the finals.
And each time, it was Olivia who incorrectly spelled her word, thus bringing back Joel, along with Jacob Sauer of Amherst Junior High and Joseph Formholtz of South Amherst Middle School, because they too incorrectly spelled words.
“It was hilarious because I was the one making the mistakes and bringing them all back,” Olivia said, laughing.
But, in the end, it was Joel and Olivia who were left standing in the final round.
Olivia then spelled her first final word correctly, but then misspelled “dahlia.”
Joel was then given a chance to spell “dahlia” and then his new word, “poignant” to win the 35th annual spelling bee.
“The back-and-forth was crazy,” Joel said.
Joel, the son of Eric and Cheryl Greenly, said he plans to study a lot before the regional bee March 23.
Runner-up Olivia agrees.
But, for someone who just moved to the United States over the summer from the Philippines, she wasn’t too upset to be declared the second best at the spelling bee. Olivia moved to the United States after her mom, Judy, married Jeff Lafferty.
“I was nervous, so nervous,” she said, looking at her mom.
Lisa Simpson served as Joel and Olivia’s bee supervisor.
“This has never happened before,” Simpson said of having a winner and runner-up in the bee from Midview Schools. “And, to have it be Olivia’s first bee … just wow!”
The 35th annual spelling bee is sponsored by the Educational Service Center of Lorain County and The Chronicle-Telegram. The second preliminary bee will be at 7 p.m. March 16 at the Avon Middle School off Long Road. The final 16 spellers from Friday night’s bee will go head to head with the final 16 from the March 16 bee. The final spelling bee will be at 7 p.m. March 23 at the same location where the finalist will be announced and chosen to represent the Educational Service Center Region 2 and The Chronicle at the 91st Scripps National Spelling Bee the week of May 28 in Washington, D.C.