Local champ from Dubuque eliminated from national spelling bee

Bryan Keck, 14, of Dubuque, spells a word Wednesday during the 2016 Scripps National
Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Md.
Photo: Pete Marovich

Bryan Keck knew he had seen the word balisaur an animal resembling a badger before he was tasked with spelling it Wednesday at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. He had studied it previously.

I think I just panicked and freaked out about whether there were one or two Ls, and unfortunately, I chose wrong, he said.

Keck misspelled his word and was eliminated from the contest. Of course Im disappointed, said the eighth-grader at Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School. I feel like I have more that I would have liked to show, but Im still very honored and thankful for the opportunity. I guess theres silver linings for all of it.

Keck won the TH Media Regional Spelling Bee in March to earn his way to the national spelling bee in National Harbor, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C. Since winning the regional bee, he spent at least 20 hours per week getting ready for the contest, poring over root words, spelling patterns and vocabulary and working with a spelling coach.

Were really proud of him, said his mother, Julie Keck. We know its not what he wanted as far as the outcome, but its a little bit of a relief. Hes put a lot of time and effort into this, and it will be nice to kind of get his life back and be a 14-year-old again.

Bryan took a multiple-choice spelling and vocabulary test Tuesday and said he felt that he performed better than he did last year, when he also went to the national bee.

I just think that I had a nervous moment up on stage, but I definitely feel like I was more prepared this year than last year, he said.

He said he was disappointed to have missed a word so early in the oral spelling round, which resulted in an automatic elimination, but that he was proud to have made it so far. He and his family are in the Washington area for the rest of the week and plan to do some sightseeing and attend an awards ceremony for the spelling bee. He figured he also would watch later rounds of the contest.

Its been a really enjoyable experience to get to come out here again in our nations capital. All the kids are really nice, he said.

Julie Keck noted that all of Bryans preparation for the bee will come in handy later. It will help ready him for when he has to take the ACT and will improve his writing skills.

Its definitely a great experience, she said. Id encourage anybody, if they have a love of spelling, to strive to get out here because in my book, all 280-plus kids are big-time winners.

TH Media
Source: Telegraph Herald
Dubuque, IA
Story: Allie Hinga Date: 05/26/2016

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