OSWEGO, NY – The 16th annual Trinity Catholic School Adult Spelling Bee went the distance — and then some.
The words come from the same list as used in the national academic spelling bees. The list began with words like: hat, yes, gum and cool.
Therefore, Vernon Tryon, the bee’s pronouncer, kicked off the competition using words closer to number 200 on the list.
It turned into a heavy weight boxing title bout, lasting a record-setting 25 rounds.
At The American Foundry, six teams spelled off to earn the right to claim the title and the championship plaque, engraved with the names of all the previous winners.
After round 9, the Eagle Beverage and Trinity Catholic School Teachers stood toe-to-toe in the center of the ring trading haymakers for the next 16 rounds.
And then, it happened – “We have run out of words,” Tryon announced.
No one had brought a dictionary.
“This has never happened before,” exclaimed Barb Sugar, Trinity Catholic School’s principal. “They all did a great job. So, I say we should crown co-champions this year.”
The large crowd applauded in agreement.
“We’ll be prepared next year – with some bonus words,” the principal added.
The bee started of on a light note.
“The pressure’s off now,” Tim Annal, the master of ceremonies for the evening, quipped. “We’ve gotten through the first round without any team misspelling a word.”
In the second round, Greene’s Ale House came up against WYSIWYG.
No one had ever heard of it, let alone know what it means.
“Sounds like it could be a new brand of ale at Greene’s,” the MC said.
After a moment of talking it out, the team correctly spelled it.
All the teams headed to round three, and then round four and round five.
In round six, the Small Block squad was laid out on supine after they added an extra “P.”
Moments later, the Super Mod team stumbled by putting an “L” in kaftan.
Round seven was uneventful.
In round eight, however, Greene’s took a seat after missing one “L” in diametrically.
When the Historical Society faltered on resilience, it set up the epic battle between the two eventual co-champs.
Dozens of words, such as par excellence, espadrille, machination, sanctimonious, potpourri, Chihuahua, idiosyncratic, oubliette, force majeure, anemone, pulchritude, and schnitzel were all given serious consideration and correctly spelled.
Schnitzel did elicit a few continuing giggles throughout the remainder of the bee, however.
And so, with no new words left, Trinity’s principal crowned the two winning teams.
In the 15th annual bee, which lasted a then-record 22, Fulton Savings Bank out spelled Eagle Beverage. For FSB, it was win 8 out of 15.
This year, members of the winning teams were (TCS) Mary Annal, Carolyn Delles and Karen Reynolds; (EB) Allison Peer, Marilyn Magner and K.C. Maniccia.
Besides Trinity Teachers and Eagle Beverage, the other three-person teams included:
Oswego County Historical Society (sponsored by Robert McKinstry), Oswego Speedway Small Block Super Drivers, Oswego Speedway Supermodified Drivers, and Greene’s Ale House.
Peer said they hope to be back for 2017.
“Many of the words were tough,” Peer told Oswego County Today following the friendly competition. “My mom said I was a walking dictionary when I was a kid. I guess it paid off.’”
“We studied this morning,” Mary Annal joked. “We did have a few practice sessions and studied a bit today, too,” she added.
The teachers plan on coming back next year to defend their piece of the crown.
Following the bee, there was a silent auction featuring a huge variety of locally donated goods.
The event coordinator was Jennifer Windsor.
The spelling bee is designed to inspire educational values, team spirit and camaraderie and to raise funds for the support of the Catholic school, according to Sugar.
Sugar thanked all the teams and sponsors for participating and everyone in attendance for supporting Trinity Catholic School.
“Thank you for coming back and helping us,” Windsor added. “And, thanks to all the teams. Thank you so very much for joining us.”
“There were some really hard words tonight; it was the longest competition that we’ve ever had. But, the teams were up to the challenge,” Sugar said. I can’t believe how long it went on tonight. There were some very hard words. Congratulations to all the spellers and thank you for helping support Trinity Catholic School.”
The annual Trinity Catholic School Community Adult Spelling Bee is one of the school largest and most popular fund-raisers.
The judges for the competition were Brian and Ann Sawyer with Steve Yablonski of Oswego County Today.com serving as the official timekeeper.
Previous winners are: Reynolds’ Law Firm (2000), Fulton Savings (2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011*, 2012 and 2014), Pathfinder Bank (2002), Nestegg Credit (2004), Catholic Community of Fulton (2007), Mimi’s (2009), Holy Trinity Parish (2010, 2013). And now, Eagle Beverage and the Trinity Catholic School Teachers (2016).
*A scheduling conflict for some of the competitors forced the October 2011 edition to be conducted in January 2012. The 2012 bee was held in November of 2012. Due to a scheduling conflict with another school event, no spelling bee was held in 2015.
Trinity is the sole Catholic school in the county; it is supported by all parishes in the county.
For more information, call 343-6700.