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DLMS speller takes third in state

Winner. Someone who succeeds by striving or effort. W-I-N-N-E-R. L-I-B-B-Y.

"As soon as I heard it, I knew I had a small chance of moving on," Libby Larson said of the word (mimetic, pertaining to mimicry)to that placed her third in state at a Spelling Bee two weeks ago.

After a series of spelling opportunities, the 14-year-old eighth grader at Detroit Lakes Middle School tied with five others for third place at St. Cloud March 22.

Larson started at the Middle School when the principal read 10 words over the intercom, and students with at least seven of the 10 correct advanced. From there she took a 15-word quiz and on to an oral spelling in front of the school.

Larson, who moved from North Dakota last year, said it was the first time she had stood in front of a crowd to spell, and it was nerve-wracking. She said it was "definitely possible" that nerves had something to do with any mistakes.

She took third in that spelling bee and went on to districts, where she won.

At districts, Larson had to take a five-word written test and then a 10-word oral exam, which she said was completely fair because each student had to spell the same words.

To study for districts, students were given a thick list of words to study for three to four weeks. From there, she went on to regionals with the same packet of words.

"I got really comfortable" with the words," she said. "My dad helped my study every night. I didn't obsess about it, and it turned out really well."

Regionally, Larson made the mistake of spelling her word with a "c" instead of "k."

"It was annoying to make such a small mistake," she said.

Larson placed third in the regional competition, where the top five go on to state. She had one month to study for state and was up against 26 other students for top honors.

She tied for third and was happy with her spot.

"It was pretty cool to beat everyone else in the region," she said.

Although this particular spelling bee was only for students through eighth grade, Larson said she might look into similar bees in high school.

In the meantime, her little sister is excited to compete as well. But will big sister help study?

"We're a little bit competitive, but I probably will," she said.

Larson said that while she's heard some kids read dictionaries to prepare for competitions, she did no such thing. Books are her main source of learning.

"I love to read. That definitely helps me out."

It certainly did.