Pictured (from left to right) are Mark Schumm, President, Van Wert Federal Savings Bank; Brady Petrie, County Spelling Bee Champion, Crestview; Samantha Schotters, Runner Up, Lincolnview; and Aaron Reichert, Second Runner Up, Van Wert. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Pictured (from left to right) are Mark Schumm, President, Van Wert Federal Savings Bank; Brady Petrie, County Spelling Bee Champion, Crestview; Samantha Schotters, Runner Up, Lincolnview; and Aaron Reichert, Second Runner Up, Van Wert. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – After nine rounds of spelling during the annual Van Wert County Spelling Bee on Monday, only two spellers remained. Brady Petrie, an eighth-grader from Crestview, and Samantha Schotters, an eighth-grader from Lincolnview, battled it out for seven more rounds before Petrie was crowned champion.

Both Schotters and Petrie had the championship within their grasp several times, spelling their first word correctly but faltering on the championship words. Finally, Petrie spelled “pilferer” and then “graham” correctly to win spelling bragging rights for the next year.

After winning, Petrie said he hardly even prepared for the County Bee and attributed the win to a natural ability to sounding words out and lucky guessing. At times during the contest, Petrie looked shocked, yet relieved, to have spelled a hard word correctly.

“Some of the words I didn’t know how to spell,” said Petrie who said he did practice some of the words prior to Monday’s Bee. “I guessed them.”

Petrie said he is proud to represent Crestview in the County Bee and was excited to win in front of his parents, Brad and Erica Petrie, and best friend, who cheered him on from the crowd.

After his win, Petrie will now move on to Regional Spelling Bee. The winner of that competition will move on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

“I’m nervous about that,” said Petrie. “I’m also pretty excited.”

The second runner up Monday’s 2020 County Spelling Bee was last year’s champion, Van Wert seventh-grader Aaron Reichert.

All participants for the County Bee received a certificate for being the top speller in their grades at their schools. For his third-place finish, Reichert received a certificate, a plaque, and $75. For her second-place finish, Schotters received a certificate, a plaque, and $100. For his first-place finish, Petrie received a certificate, a plaque, and $125. Awards were sponsored by Van Wert First Federal Savings Bank.

Other spellers for the evening were Braelyn Marsee of Crestview, Braxton Leeth of Crestview, Michaela Debbe of Crestview, Josie Miller of Lincolnview, Noah Peters of Lincolnview, Heath Sears of Lincolnview, Sophia Berryman of St. Mary of Assumption, Harrison Sloan of Van Wert, Ethyn Dunno of Van Wert, and Zoe Coleman of Van Wert.

The Journal Gazette Regional Spelling Bee will be held on March 7 in the Purdue Fort Wayne Rhinehart Recital Hall at 10 a.m.