Niles, Brandywine students finish top 15 at regional spelling bee

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT More than 50 elementary and middle school aged students from southwest Michigan competed in the Cloverleaf Spelling Bee Friday at Lake Michigan College’s Napier Campus. ABOVE: Brandywine Middle School’s Alex Manley prepares to spell.

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT
More than 50 elementary and middle school aged students from southwest Michigan competed in the Cloverleaf Spelling Bee Friday at Lake Michigan College’s Napier Campus. ABOVE: Brandywine Middle School’s Alex Manley prepares to spell.

BENTON HARBOR — It took more than three hours, and a particularly challenging vocabulary test, to determine the best speller among young grade school students in southwest Michigan.

In the end, Upton Middle School’s Mir Quddus came out on top of the 2016 Cloverleaf Spelling Bee Friday at Lake Michigan College.

Quddus was one of nine who spelled enough words correctly to advance to the vocabulary round, where competitors were required to take a written test on the definition of several words.

Only two of the nine — Quddus and Bangor Middle School’s Michael Hardester — scored well enough to move on.

Hardester misspelled “participle” before Quddus correctly spelled the same word and then “conspiracy” to earn a trip to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., along with several other prizes.

Ring Lardner Middle School’s Brandon Rodabaugh lasted the longest of all Brandywine, Buchanan and Niles students in the contest.

He misspelled “susceptible,” leaving just 10 competitors left in the bee.

Last year’s champion, Brandywine Middle School’s Brandon Kirkendall, finished in the top 15 after misspelling “hypocrisy.”

Brandywine Elementary School’s Emily Farmer also finished in the top 15.

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