Spellers set new school records as state finalists

COLUMBIA CITY — Spelling words like porphyry, beleaguerment, periphrasis and noblesse oblige, the Indian Springs Middle School Spell Bowl team competed in their second trip to a state competition Saturday at Purdue University. Indian Springs placed 5th out of 9 teams in Class 1 spelling 63 words correctly out of a possible 72. The team placed in the top 10 overall of the thirty schools competing in four different classes from throughout the state. Eight rounds of nine words each are held for a total of 72 possible words in junior division competition. Indian Springs was the only middle school competing at the state level from Northeast Indiana. The Class 1 champion was Thomas Jefferson Middle School (Valparaiso) with a perfect score of 72. Spelling for Indian Springs was Alex Scharpenberg, Lenah Beck, Emily Ewert, Eric Yager, Leah Bechtold, Jaeden Roussey, Cristian Robinson and Eric Burkholder. Top spellers for Indian Springs were Lenah Beck, Eric Burkholder, Jaeden Roussey and Leah Bechtold with perfect rounds and Alex Scharpenberg and Eric Yager with a near perfect round missing only one word. Other team members include Megan Beck, Caleb Binkley, Jack Claypool, Justin Johnson, Joey More and Matthew Potter. Coach Dennis Beckner is in his eighth year coaching the Indian Springs team.The team set several school records as their season comes to an end. A total of 9 perfect rounds and 8 near perfect rounds topped the previous records of 7 and 4 rounds, respectively, set last year. Eric Burkholder is the first ISMS speller to achieve perfect rounds in each of the three competitions. The state score of 63 is only the second time in school history the team has scored in the 60s, the first time being earlier this season in Warsaw. The ISMS team was named both NELMSC and NHMLC champs for the season. “I knew we had the talent on this team to have a very successful season,” said Coach Beckner.“We had the most perfect scores in a season, the most near perfect scores in a season and two of our scores in the 60s. Making it to the state finals two years in a row shows how solid our team is and I believe will continue to be. We have an amazing group of students who work together so well as a team. I will miss the talent and leadership of our 8th grade students and yet look forward to continued success next year.” This is the second year in a row the Indian Springs team was named Northeast Lakes Conference and Northeast Hoosier Conference champs and overall winner of the area Spell Bowl competition in October.See more photos of the team in Friday’s edition of The Post & Mail.