Land wins spelling bee

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By Shannon Brock

Whether it was his lucky pants or a lucky guess, Clayton Land earned a first place trophy at the Anderson County Championship Spelling Bee.

Clayton, a fourth-grader at Emma B. Ward Elementary School, has worn his “lucky” pants at every level of competition leading up to Thursday night — and he plans to wear them when representing Anderson County at the state competition as well.

A son of Clifton and Eunice Land, Clayton said the hardest word he spelled during the competition was “portfolio” — the word he was given in the very first round.

“I had no idea,” Clayton said. “I just guessed.”

That guess got Clayton through to round two, but his studying efforts carried him through the next 11.

Beginning in round 12, Clayton faced Brooklyn Carpenter, a sixth-grader at the Christian Academy of Lawrenceburg, in a spell-off.

After a couple of rounds going back and forth, Clayton was named the first place winner when he correctly spelling the world “quarrel.”

Clayton’s mother, Eunice, said her son studied “the hard words” intensely leading up to the competition and wasn’t afraid to showcase his methodical ways of competing by counting the number of contestants left at the end of each round.

“He worked really hard, and he did it,” Eunice said, adding that Clayton set his goal as getting the biggest trophy.

He succeeded and picked up a $100 prize in the process.

Asked on what he would spend the prize money, Clayton said, “I don’t know. I’m sure I’ll spend it on something.”

Anderson County Farm Bureau provided the trophies and prizes for the winners. In addition to the first place prize, second place received $50, third place received $20 and fourth place received $10. The top four contestants all received trophies.

Brooklyn Carpenter finished second; Benjamin Pinkston, a sixth-grader at the Christian Academy, finished third; and Hannah Drury a fifth-grader at Ward, finished fourth.

Competitors in Thursday night’s event were in fourth through eighth grades and placed in the top four in their grade levels at the county-wide bee last month. The Anderson County Cattleman’s Association provided all competitors and their families with a dinner before the championship bee.

This year’s bee was at Saffell Street Elementary School.

This is the second consecutive year a fourth-grader named Clayton from Ward has won the spelling bee.

Last year’s winner, Clayton Fields, as well as the 2007 winner, Bradley Bellman, also competed in the championship bee Thursday.

E-mail Shannon Mason Brock at sbrock@theandersonnews.com.