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Eighth-grader Hudson Dunbar (left) won the Osawatomie Middle School spelling bee Friday, Jan. 10, at the school. Grant Kilbourn (center) finished in second place and Natalie Benedict (right) will serve as alternate. The three students emerged as the top spellers in the bee. The bee went 14 rounds and featured 31 of the top spellers at the school. 

OSAWATOMIE — Hudson Dunbar, clad in a “Be Brave, Be Strong, Be Fearless” T-shirt, grasped a microphone and correctly spelled “salamander” to win the Osawatomie Middle School spelling bee in front of a large crowd in the gymnasium.

Dunbar spelled “multiplication” to start the 12th round in what would prove to be the winning frame for the eighth-grader Friday, Jan. 10. After Grant Kilbourn, eighth-grader, and Natalie Benedict, seventh-grader, did not convert their opportunities in the round, Hudson spelled salamander to grab the championship.

After two more rounds, Kilbourn emerged in second place. Dunbar and Kilbourn will represent Osawatomie Middle School in the countywide spelling bee Friday, Feb. 21, at Osawatomie High School. Benedict will serve as the alternate and would compete if Dunbar or Kilbourn cannot attend.

The winner of the countywide bee will be eligible to compete in the Sunflower State Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 21, at Newman University in Wichita.

Middle school students put their considerable spelling talents on display in a bee that took 14 rounds and about 90 minutes to finish.

After the 11th round, Dunbar, Kilbourn and Benedict were the only three spellers left from a field that started with 31 of the best spellers in the eighth, seventh and sixth grades at OMS.

The bee opened with the word “drum,” and seven rounds later the field had been trimmed to 10 finalists who competed in front of the student body, faculty and family members as the contest moved from the classroom to the gym for the remaining rounds.

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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