Kitsap Speller Ready for the Next Challenge

Hunter Lehmann more than exceeded his goal for himself this year at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. On his second trip to the bee after winning the Kitsap Sun Regional Spelling Bee two years in a row, he not only made it into the quarterfinals (his goal) but spelled his first word correctly. He was one word away from the semi-finals, broadcast on ESPN, but things got hairy for him with the word “polytrichous,” thickly covered with hairs or cilia.
As Hunter’s dad describes below, his son went from elation to deflation. This is the last year the 13-year-old is eligible to participate in the bee. But Hunter’s now ready for his next challenge … AP Biology.
Congratulations, Hunter. Thanks for representing Kitsap so well in D.C. And remember others have folded under far less pressure.

The semifinals will air Friday on ESPN from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. PDT. The championship will air live Friday on ABC from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Peter Lehmann writes:

Today was a day of excitement and disappointment. Hunter successfully spelled his Preliminary Oral Round word and also scored 22 out of 25 on the previous written test, qualifying him for the Quarterfinals. He was really excited, as his goal for this past year was to do well enough to get past the written test and into the Quarterfinals. He correctly spelled the first word given to him in the Quarterfinals, easily spelling the word brumous, pronounced like “brum-us”. He was one word away from making it to the Semifinals. Unfortunately he couldn’t figure out the word polytrichous, pronounced “puh-li´-truh-cuss” (not like it looks phonetically, “polly-trick´-us”). He went from excitement to deflation. He says being up on stage most of the day was really draining, both physically and emotionally. I know he’s bummed out that he was so close to getting into the “elite” group of spellers who make it to TV time, but when all is said and done, he exceeded his expectations, and once the disappointment wears off I know he’ll feel good about the whole experience. He is disappointed that this is his last competition; being an eighth grader he’s no longer eligible for either the Spelling or Geography Bees, both of which he’s been involved with the past 4-5 years. When I asked him was his next challenge will be, he said, “Mom says it’s time to take AP Biology!”

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