May 24, 2016


Matthew Cecil takes top spot in C-T’s Spelling Bee

AMHERST – Two Amherst Junior High students faced off for the title in Friday night’s West Region semifinal of The Chronicle-Telegram Spelling Bee at Amherst Junior High.

In the end, Matthew Cecil won when friend and schoolmate Michael Prieto misspelled “addenda.” Matthew spelled it correctly, then correctly spelled “sorceress” for the victory.

“This is one step closer to nationals,” Matthew said.

They and the other top 16 finishers head to the regional final at 7 p.m. at Midview West Elementary School in Grafton. The East Regional final is at 7 p.m. March 12 at Sheffield Middle School in Sheffield.

The evening started with 37 students, including Mark Krasienko, son of Lorain mayor Tony Krasienko, representing Durling Middle School. Mark made it to the bee’s final four and will compete on March 19.

The students weren’t eased into the competition. The second round saw seven players go down on words including “deacon,” “circumference” and “mathematician.”

Joshua Carandang of St. Peter in Lorain was thrown when announcer Bruce Van Dyke of WEOL gave him his fourth-round word, “androcentric.”

“I wasn’t sure at first if he said ‘endro’ or ‘andro,’ ” Joshua said. “So I went with ‘a’ and tried to picture the word in my head.”

It worked, and he moved on to make the top 16 before being eliminated on the word “klomper” in the sixth round.

More foreign-based words showed up in the seventh round, as “sayonara” and “chimichanga” tripped up two students. Paul Kardar of Open Door Christian survived, successfully spelling “sukiyaki.”

The eighth round whittled the field down to four – Matthew, Paul, Michael and Mark. Mark was the first to go down, misspelling “escrow.” Paul was eliminated on the word “uvula.”

In the final round, Matthew spelled “languid” correctly, followed by Michael successfully spelling “behoove.” Matthew  got “mirthful” before Michael misspelled “addenda” to set up Matthew’s victory.

“I knew he’d be tough to beat,” Michael said of Matthew. “I remember in fifth grade when he went an hour in the final round of the spelling bee.”

Dianna Clark, a seventh-grade language arts teacher at Amherst Junior High, was thrilled for her students.

“They did it on their own,” she said. “They studied hard.”

Matthew said he crammed in studying the word list every chance he got, working with his parents, Craig and Angela.

Michael said his parents, Pam and Mike, would test him on the words, and also he practiced with his younger sister, Shelby. The 11 other students who advanced are Allison Syrowski, Dave Frankart, Jeremy Parson and Arianna Venson of Amherst Junior High; Forrest Boyd of Sailorway Middle School, Heidi Frederickson and Jimmy Chervenak of Midview Middle School, Kaelyn Brown and Myhkalah Robinson of Durling Middle School, Andrew Biery of South Amherst Middle School and Mikayla Ortiz of The Arts Academy.

Contact Melissa Hebert at 329-7129 or