Cass County's best spellers, determined Feb. 24 at Southwestern Michigan College, include, from left: Andrew Shafer, Edwardsburg, first; Haley Bumgarner, Edwardsburg, second; Kori Mecklenburg, Edwardsburg, third; Cameron Ekanayake, Edwardsburg, fourth; and Madison Pyper, Marcellus, fifth. (Vigilant photo/JOHN EBY)
Cass County's best spellers, determined Feb. 24 at Southwestern Michigan College, include, from left: Andrew Shafer, Edwardsburg, first; Haley Bumgarner, Edwardsburg, second; Kori Mecklenburg, Edwardsburg, third; Cameron Ekanayake, Edwardsburg, fourth; and Madison Pyper, Marcellus, fifth. (Vigilant photo/JOHN EBY)

Archived Story

Cassopolis competes in county spelling bee

Published 3:55pm Thursday, March 4, 2010

By JOHN EBY
Cassopolis Vigilant

DOWAGIAC – Another Edwardsburg eighth-grader, Andrew Shafer, carted away Cass County’s best speller trophy and a $50 savings bond while his fellow Eddies captured the first overall district trophy Wednesday afternoon at Southwestern Michigan College.
Michaela Curtis, 13, won on Feb. 24, 2009.

Edwardsburg fifth-grader Haley Bumgarner finished second in Lewis Cass Intermediate School District’s 27th annual individual competition, for which 26 students in grades 5-8 qualified.

After finishing second as a sixth-grader and fourth as a seventh-grader, Andrew made winning his goal.

The separate fourth grade contest also went 17 rounds and was won by Dowagiac’s Christopher Moreno of Sister Lakes Elementary School.

Behind Christopher, the Chieftains came within three of Edwardsburg, 46-43, with Cassopolis (34) and Marcellus (31) trailing.

But the afternoon belonged to Edwardsburg, which swept the top four places.

Madison Pyper of Marcellus finished fifth, behind Andrew, Haley, sixth-grader Kori Mecklenburg and another fifth-grader, Cameron Ekanayake.

Kori won a travel Scrabble game, Cameron a Scrabble game. Haley also won a $50 savings bond. Cass County Historical Commission provides the prizes.

The Eddies said they have been practicing for three months.

Edwardsburg’s teams encompassed two buildings, the middle school and intermediate school.

Andrew, who plays soccer, trumpet in the band and participates in Science Olympiad, slipped ahead of Haley in the 16th round by correctly spelling “reminiscences,” which she missed, and won on “harpsichord” in the 17th.

It had been between the two of them since the 10th round, when “mozzarella” tripped up Kori while Haley got “corruptible” and Andrew spelled “iridescent.”

The first round retired half of the field.  Six remained after the third round. Four survived six rounds.

Cameron sat down on “penchant,” while Haley (“pacifist”), Kori (“glockenspiel”) and Andrew (“decaffeinated”) advanced.

In the 10th round, Kori stumbled on “mozzarella,” while Haley handled “magnanimous” and Andrew got “rhetoric” right.

The spelling bee almost ended in the 12th round, but Andrew and Haley both missed on “sacrilegious.”

Led by Andrew, Edwardsburg’s eighth grade team scored 44 and comfortably cruised past Marcellus (39), Cassopolis (31) and Dowagiac (28).

It consists of Andrew, Annie Makielski, Becky Oppman, Seth Andrews and Devon Wruble.
Edwardsburg was nearly upset by Marcellus in seventh grade, 38-37, with Dowagiac at 30 and Cassopolis at 27.

Members of the Eddies seventh grade squad are Camron Crennell, Derrick Cooper, Kolter Mecklenburg, Chris Passi and Jacob Edge.

Cassopolis won in sixth grade with 39, to 37 for Edwardsburg, 32 for Dowagiac and 30 for Marcellus.

Edwardsburg triumphed in fifth grade with 47, to 35 for Dowagiac, 32 for Marcellus and 24 for Cassopolis.

Fifth-graders on the Eddies team were Autumn Axline, Brayden Curtis, Samuel Larey, Cameron Ekanayake and Haley Bumgarner.

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