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Norman student wins Central Oklahoma Spelling Bee in 26th round

Cole Schafer-Ray, of Alcott Middle School in Norman, will now represent Oklahoma in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May in Washington, D.C.
By Sarah Lobban, For The Oklahoman Modified: March 9, 2013 at 11:09 pm •  Published: March 10, 2013

A seventh-grader at Heritage Hall, Mandanas spelled “mobiliary” correctly to advance to the final round, but misspelled “discrete.”

“I'm planning on coming back next year, though,” he said.

Mandanas was the runner-up in the 2012 state bee, and he placed first in his regional spelling bee earlier this year.

This year the competition was especially intense, going into 26 rounds, nearly five hours, as compared to last year's 14 rounds.

The students successfully rattled off spellings of words like “Weissnichtwo,” “gnathonic” and “roodebok” — and those were just in the preliminary rounds.

For anyone wondering, those words are a term for imaginary place, an insulting word, toadying, and a species of African antelope.

Tensions were high as the rounds grew increasingly difficult.

Still, there were some humorous moments.

When spelling the word “synchronous,” Calvin Tolbert, of Casady School in Oklahoma City, gave the first eight letters and shouted, “OU!” to the delight of Sooner fans in the audience, before finishing the word.

Tolbert was one of eight contestants remaining by the 16th round but misspelled “pickelhaube,” a type of helmet worn by German soldiers in the 19th century.