Saturday, June 2, 2007

California boy wins Scripps Spelling Bee

The winner of the spelling bee sounded as if he'd rather be at a math Olympiad. Thirteen-year-old Evan O'Dorney of Danville, California, breezed through the Scripps National Spelling Bee with barely a hitch Thursday night, taking the title, the trophy and the prizes in a competition that he confessed really wasn't his favorite. The home-schooled eighth-grader easily aced "serrefine" - a noun describing small forceps - to become the last youngster standing at the 80th annual bee. He triumphed after a tense duel with Nate Gartke of Spruce Grove, Alberta, who was trying to become the first Canadian to win.

Afterward, Evan spoke more enthusiastically about attending a math camp in Nebraska this summer than about becoming the English language's top speller.

"My favorite things to do were math and music, and with the math I really like the way the numbers fit together," he said. "And with the music I like to let out ideas by composing notes - and the spelling is just a bunch of memorization."

Evan, who tied for 14th last year, won $35,000 cash, plus a $5,000 scholarship, a $2,500 savings bond and a set of reference works. He said he knew how to spell the winning word as soon as the pronouncer said it.

Evan's victory came even though he wasn't able to stick to one of his superstitions. In previous bees, he has always eaten fish before competition, but he revealed he didn't do that this time because it wasn't on the menu of the Spelling Bee dinner.

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