The word “nemesis” didn’t pose a problem to Reagan Remmers, an eighth-grade student at Target Range School, who placed first at the Missoula County Spelling Bee on Thursday, breaking a record for the most consecutive wins in the competition’s history.
Remmers won in the eighth round of the spelling bee, competing for the title with Max Diaz, a sixth-grader from C.S. Porter Middle School who placed second after correctly spelling "cilantro."
Although it was Remmers' fourth year at the spelling bee, she said she prepared as if it was her first. Remmers dedicated time after school each week to meet with a coach and practice words from the Scripps Spelling Bee list.
Remmers went beyond memorization and spent countless hours studying the roots of words.
“We studied rules of languages like Latin and Greek so I could understand how words break down and then I also studied lists of words with my mom,” she said.
In the end, it paid off.
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“I’m super excited because it was this long-term goal that I had ever since I won in fifth grade,” Remmers said.
Remmers will go to the Treasure State Spelling Bee to compete for the state title along with Diaz and third place winner, Gabriel Hendrix, a seventh-grader at Target Range.
Hendrey was neck and neck with Diaz and Remmers until faced with the word "beleaguer," which ironically means to be troubled, beset with difficulties or besieged.
Mercedes Gordon, an eighth-grader from Hellgate Elementary, took fourth place and will act as an alternate at the state competition if one of the top three contestants is unable to attend.
Jackson Stiehl, a seventh-grader at Washington Middle School, Harrison Beal, a sixth-grader at Lolo, and Teagan Schmauch, an eighth-grader at Lolo, all tied for fifth place.
Cash prizes were supplied by the Missoulian.