MOUNT VERNON — The third time at the regional spelling bee was a charm for Mount Vernon eighth-grader Toby Baumann, the 2011 Knox County champion speller. He won the 2011 Sheridan WorldWise Central Ohio regional spelling bee on Saturday, and will advance to the national competition in Washington, D.C., in June.
The regional meet at Centennial High School in Columbus started with 150 spellers taking a written test in the morning, with the top 39 spellers advancing to 13 rounds of an oral spell down in the afternoon. Alone in the 14th round, and nearly three hours after the oral competition began, Toby correctly spelled “ankh” to take first place in the contest.
Besides the trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in June, Toby won the Merriam Webster New International Dictionary, third edition, and a $100 savings bond.
“We are so excited,” said Toby’s mother, Victoria Baumann. “Toby said he thought he might win Saturday, and he just kept going and going, and there he was at the end. His father, Fred, and I are very proud of him.”
Toby plans to prepare for national competition by continuing his current strategy of reading, using the official spelling bee website’s tools and doing the practice test.
Note: Ankh is the Egyptian hieroglyph for “eternal life.” It looks like a T with a loop at the top.