Cedarville student advances in spelling bee

By Scott Halasz - [email protected]



CEDARVILLE — Knowing how to spell the procedure for removing all or part of the liver, and another word for a swamp has earned Sophia Lopez a spot in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee quarterfinals.

The Cedarville Middle School seventh grader correctly spelled hepatectomy and slough (pronounced slew or slow), along with knowing another word for pious to join 73 others in the next round, being held from 12-6 p.m. June 15. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, competition is being held virtually until the finals, which will be in person July 8 in the Orlando, Fla., area.

“I think I’m really lucky to have this opportunity, first of all,” Lopez said Monday. “I’m glad I was able to get farther than two years ago (tied for 370th). I’m just excited to see what happens. I’m a little nervous but also excited.”

In the preliminaries, all 209 contestants had to spell up to two words and provide the correct answer to a multiple choice vocabulary question. If at any point a word was spelled wrong or the incorrect answer was given, the contestant was eliminated. The multiple choice vocab question was a new addition this year.

“It did seem a little daunting at first,” Lopez said. “Once I realized it was going to be multiple choice it took a little bit of the pressure off. It definitely changed what I studied.”

The same procedure is used during the quarterfinals and the semifinals, held from 7-11 p.m. Sunday, June 27. The top 10-12 spellers advance to the finals.

Lopez, 13, is one of seven quarterfinalists from Ohio and hopes to continue to represent the Buckeye state.

“I’ve been reviewing a lot of words (Monday) and (Sunday) when I found out I qualified,” she said. “I’m going to try to make it passed (this round). I’m really going to try my hardest. It would be really cool for me, watching the semifinals on TV and in person, it would be cool to actually be there as a competitor.”

According to her bio on the spelling bee website, Lopez runs in the fall and spring and plays the violin year-round. She also enjoys reading — she especially likes the Hunger Games and Divergent series — hanging out with her cats, eating chocolate, and being with friends. Lopez is also involved in theater and the Springfield Youth Symphony.


By Scott Halasz

[email protected]

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.