Riverside fifth-grader repeats as Logan County spelling champ

A “Freudian” slip by the runner-up — along with a fair bit of study — was all it took for Riverside Elementary School fifth-grader Sam Fleming to repeat as Logan County Spelling Bee champion.

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Fifth-grade Riverside student Sam Fleming spells a word as Bellefontaine sixth-grader Lauren Carter waits in the final rounds of Wednesday’s Logan County Spelling Bee at Riverside School. Sam placed first in the event after Lauren slipped up on the word “chiffonade.” (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)

At the start of the Wednesday evening event, moderator Missy Bennett, special projects coordinator for the host Logan County Educational Service Center, warned the students that slip-ups in which they start a word with the letter “s” when it should be a “c” could not be corrected.

And when the spelling bee came down to just two remaining contestants, Bellefontaine sixth-grader Lauren Carter made just such an error on the word “chiffonade” (a chopping technique in which herbs or leafy vegetables are rolled and cut in thin strips) in the 40th round.

“S,” she began, before correcting herself and spelling the word accurately.

Sam then spelled the word without the “s” and was asked to spell “Freudian,” which rolled off the youth’s tongue effortlessly.

“I was going too fast and wasn’t taking my time,” Lauren said afterward. “I knew I messed up because I got too excited.”

Sam said recent time off school for inclement weather gave him ample time to prepare for the event.

Contestants in the event were invited to take an online test for the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition.

Sam, who placed 11th in the regional round of last year’s competition after misspelling the word “tyrannical,” said he took the test earlier Wednesday. Lauren also said she plans to take the test to compete at the regional level.

Wednesday’s contest was comprised of first- and second-place spelling bee finishers from each county school’s bee.

The other participants were, Hunter Karg, eighth-grade Bellefontaine; Logan Phillips, eighth-grade Ben Logan; Mei Carmer, seventh-grade Ben Logan; Tommy Meek, eighth-grade Indian Lake; Ryan Braig, fifth-grade Ben Logan; and Aaron Thompson, Riverside Middle School.

Read the complete story in Thursday's Examiner.