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Duel of top Salem spellers settled by ‘slav’

February 16, 2013
Morning Journal News

SALEM - Sixth graders Bryce Owen and Given Warner displayed their spelling prowess once again in battling for the Salem City Spelling Bee championship, but this year Bryce took home the top trophy.

"You're clearly looking at the two best spellers in our district right now," Salem Junior High Principal Sean Kirkland said Friday.

The two Southeast School students spelled against each other for the last six rounds of the 12-round contest at the Salem High School auditorium, with Given missing on the word "barrow" after Bryce correctly spelled "windily" in the 11th round. Bryce became the champion by correctly spelling the word "slav" in the 12th round.

Article Photos

Southeast School sixth grader Bryce Owen reacts after correctly spelling the word “slav” to win the Salem City Spelling Bee on Friday at the Salem High School auditorium. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)

They'll be joining fellow Southeast sixth grader and second runner up Makayla Stoffer, Junior High seventh grader and third runner up Nate Wilson, Junior High eighth grader and fourth runner up James Monigold and Junior High eighth grader and fifth runner up Sam Wilson as the Salem City Schools representatives in the Columbiana County Spelling Bee at 6:30 p.m. March 13 at the David Anderson High School auditorium in Lisbon.

Alternates will be Hunter Christopher and Kaleb Caldwell, both Southeast School students, who placed seventh and eighth in the city bee.

Bryce and Given have a history of spelling against each other, first in their building bee, then on to the city bee and the county contest. Last year, Given was the winner of the city bee in a contest that lasted 14 rounds, with Bryce coming in second.

"I'm happy," Bryce said about winning.

He is the son of Mark and Nancy Owen. Given is the son of Gregg Warner and Jennifer Dobbins.

The city spelling bee featured 20 students, with 10 from Southeast and 10 from the Junior High. Kirkland talked to the students before the bee began and tried to calm their nerves, telling them to "own the moment."

The winner of the county spelling bee will go directly to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., with the trip sponsored by the Salem News, Morning Journal, and East Liverpool Review.

Gary Goddard served as pronouncer and judges were Bernie Jesko, Tara Evans and Jacque Rich. David Stratton conducted the tape recording.

All participating students received a certificate, while the winning spellers received plaques.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at



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