Champion St. Rose Speller Tripped Up At Regionals
Mary Kate Cashman among 35 spellers knocked out in brutal second round
For some four hundred years it was used as the basic monetary unit of the Netherlands. But when the European Union in 2002 standardized the monetary system on the continent, the Gulden was replaced with the Euro.
The Gulden, relegated to a footnote in European history, also eclipsed the chances that Mary Kate Cashman, St. Rose Grammar School fifth grader, would move on to compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee.
Cashman, 10, was one of 53 spellers who were tripped up by obscure words in the regional Spelldown competition, held at Monmouth University Monday night.
The Spelldown featured 99 champion spellers from Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties who had all won their school-wide spelling bees – each vying for the opportunity to take the grand stage in the upcoming national competition.
“We’re just so proud that she made it here,’’ said James Cashman, Mary Kate’s father.
So too was Bill Roberts, principal of St. Rose Grammar School, who attended the competition.
“She did great,’’ Roberts said.
Cashman pushed through the first round of competition, correctly spelling “Brackish” -- an adjective meaning “somewhat salty,’’ or “not appealing to the taste.’’
But the competition heated up in the second round, when 35 hopefuls were stumped by words like “streusel” and “Credenza.”
Another casality of the brutal second round was Emily Howard, a seventh grader from Belmar Elementary School, who safely made it through the first round only to have her hopes dashed by “Pyre,’’ a noun meaning a heap of material to be burned, normally associated with funeral rites.
After dismissing more than half its competitors Monday, the Spelldown continues Tuesday at the university’s Pollak Theatre, beginning at 6 p.m.
The winner of the competition continues to the National Spelling Bee for a chance to compete in the ESPN-televised final rounds, which take place May 28-30.
Despite being knocked out this year, Mary Kate said she plans to be back for next year’s competition.