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Morning Sun
  • Jacob Mathew wins bee over sister, others

  • It took 25 rounds for Jacob Mathew to unseat two of last year’s returning top spellers, but the third-grader correctly spelled ectothermic to become this year’s Crawford County Spelling Bee champion on Thursday.

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  • It took 25 rounds for Jacob Mathew to unseat two of last year’s returning top spellers, but the third-grader correctly spelled ectothermic to become this year’s Crawford County Spelling Bee champion on Thursday.
    Mathew, a student at George Nettels Elementary in Pittsburg and a sibling of previous county spelling bee champions Nina, Joseph and Gina Mathew, said his practice paid off.
    “My dad said 30 minutes a day can change everything,” he said.
    Mathew said he has been practicing words and learning linguistic rules and trivia, such as the fact that words of a Greek origin tend to use “ph” in place of “f.”
    He also said he tends to use his hands to help figure out words.
    Mathew’s victory was a surprise for his parents, Boban and Merly Mathew, who were there to cheer on both their son and daughter, returning champion Gina Mathew.
    “We didn’t expect it,” Boban Mathew said. “We thought if he finishes in the top 10 that would be good.”
    They said the two students have prepared in different ways and practice individually as well as helping each other, and that they will continue to do so with the state spelling be in the future.
    Gina Mathew and third-place finisher Evie Shawn, both of whom are seventh graders at Pittsburg Community Middle School, each came very close to winning in the earlier rounds of the bee, but Jacob Mathew secured the victory by being the only correct speller in the 24th round and then also spelling his next word correctly.
    Gina Mathew came close to victory in round 18, when she was the only correct speller, but a mishearing of the word venerable resulted in an incorrect spelling, and the bee went on.
    Shawn, who came in third last year, almost won after round 20, but an incorrect spelling of excoriate allowed the competition to continue.
    In the 23rd round, Shawn missed the word burgundy, securing a repeat third-place finish and the alternate slot for the state spelling bee.
    Gina Mathew missed the word hepatic in the 24th round, then watched as Jacob Mathew spelled plutocratic, and then ectothermic for the win.
    Gina Mathew said she personally wanted to do well, but couldn’t help cheering for her brother at the same time.
    “It was a sibling rivalry,” she said. “You want to do well, but you want him to do well, too.”
    She said she plans to practice more before the two face off again at the state spelling bee on March 2 in Hays.
    Shawn said she has been practicing since last year’s competition by writing down all the practice words.
    “I would just read through the list,” she said.
    Page 2 of 2 - She said the thing that threw her was when words that were not on the practice lists showed up in the final rounds.
    “The words on the end weren’t on the list,” Shawn said. “I was really not prepared

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