UL pockets repeat win

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The 28th Belmont County Spelling Bee was held Thursday night at Ohio University Eastern proved to be a repeat of last year’s battle.

Justin Hamilton of Union Local Middle School and Marcus Clark of Martins Ferry Middle School faced each other as the final two spellers this year, a repeat of the year before.

Hamilton, much like last year, prevailed spelling both “progress” and “reclusive” correctly for the win. Hamilton finished second place to Clark in 2012 and returned to beat Clark in 2013 and 2014.

The competition went beyond the standard 12 rounds, before going off the list, with only three competitors left standing. Along with Hamilton and Clark was fellow eighth grader Jamie Fogle of Martins Ferry Middle School.

This was her first time at the county bee though she managed to stay with the two returning veterans and previous champions. This was Clark’s third time and Hamilton’s fourth time at the county bee.

“I was expecting a fight, which I knew was going to happen. I knew it was going to end up with me and Marcus (Clark) in the final,” said Hamilton. “I am very pleased to win. D.C. was a lot of fun last year, and I am so happy to go back again.”

Hamilton claims that he was nervous the entire bee, and one of the words that worried him was “chalupa.” “I had to think about it for a minute because I knew the word, but my mind kind of went blank,” he said.

When it comes to competing in the Spelling Bee, Hamilton tells people that he continues to compete for the money but really it is something he is good at and it is something he enjoys.

“It feels pretty good,” said Hamilton, referring to winning the Marshall Traveling Trophy in his last year at Union Local Middle School. “Union Local has won the (Belmont County) Spelling Bee more then any other school; I have made that 10 out of 28 so I’m carrying on the legacy.”

Along with earning a trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., Hamilton took home a $500 cash prize, a first-place trophy, Webster’s Third New International Dictionary and the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, and he will receive a plaque with his two winning words to be displayed at the school.

The Times Leader/Riesbeck’s Traveling Trophy also will be housed in Union Local Middle School, and Hamilton will receive a one-year subscription to Britannica Online for Kids.

Clark receives a $250 cash prize, the second-place trophy and a Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. and Fogle earned a $150 cash prize and a third-place trophy while the fourth place winner, Olivia Carpenter, of Shadyside, took home a $100 cash prize and the fourth-place trophy.

Van Dyne may be reached at kvandyne@timesleaderonline.com.