You've got to play to win

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008
— Katie Biester considered calling in sick Tuesday morning.

She wasn’t too keen on being in the spotlight in the annual citywide spelling bee, and she knew if she didn’t show up, then a friend who came in behind her at her school’s bee would take her place.

But her mom, Jerri Biester, convinced her to go.

Good thing. The eighth-grader from Edison Middle School won over 38 other competitors in the annual bee.

The runner-up and winner stood side-by-side as they slugged it out in the final round.

Both tripped on “macadam,” “onerous” and “saffian.”

Both correctly spelled “regalia” and “spitzer.”

Then Loghan Hallett, an eighth-grader from Franklin Middle School, missed one of the O’s in “sojourn.”

Katie got “sojourn” correct and, as the rules call for, went on to correctly spell the next word on the list, “solicit.”

The girls embraced and smiled at the end. They had never met.

“She was really cool,” Katie said of Loghan.

Both girls said they read a lot, which is typical for spelling bee winners.

“A lot of these words I got from reading. I’ll read anything,” Loghan said.

She was awesome. I had no idea,” said Loghan’s mother, Karin Hallett.

“She reads constantly,” Jerri said of Katie.

Katie wasn’t sure why she spells so well: “People tell me I read all the time, but I know kids who read a lot more than I do.”

Loghan attacked her words methodically, syllable by syllable, sometimes taking long pauses.

“I couldn’t even look at her toward the end. I was so nervous,” Loghan’s mother said. “I’m thrilled for her. I’m thrilled for all the kids.”

Katie, too, showed a lot of poise. Her advice for future bee competitors:

“You need to just take a step back and think before you say something. It’s not going to just come to you.”


Winners of the 2008 Janesville Spelling Bee and their prizes:

First—Katie Biester, $100 U.S. Savings Bond and a bicycle from Michael’s Cycles of Janesville. The traveling trophy goes to her school, Edison Middle.

Second—Loghan Hallett, Franklin Middle School, $100 savings bond

Third—Rose Beach, Roosevelt Elementary School, $75 savings bond

Fourth—Scott Catlin, St. John Vianney School, $50 savings bond

Fifth—Troy Thornton, Edison Middle School, $50 savings bond

Sixth—Nathaniel Traver, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran School, $50 savings bond

Seventh—Peter Roth, St. Paul’s Lutheran School, $50 savings bond

Eighth—Carly McGrath, Jefferson Elementary School, $50 savings bond

The top four finishers qualify for the regional bee Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Milton High School.

The savings bonds were courtesy of The Janesville Gazette, which co-sponsors the bee with the Janesville School District.


The Janesville Spelling Bee will be shown on Janesville cable Channel 13 at midnight, 3, 6 and 9 a.m., noon, 3, 6 and 9 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 28; Thursday, Jan. 31; Monday, Feb. 4, and Thursday, Feb. 7.

Last updated: 1:07 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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