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Sinclair overcomes nerves, opposition to earn spelling bee

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By Thomas Barr

 MOUNT WASHINGTON - Winning the Bullitt County Spelling Bee is nothing to sneeze at.

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Just ask Chris Sinclair of Eastside Middle School.

Surviving 14 rounds of words from pronouncer Jan Stone, Sinclair outlasted Matthew Wheeler of Mount Washington Elementary and Krystal Seewer of Zoneton Middle to win the title.

A large crowd sat on pins and needles at Crossroads Elementary as 19 of the top spellers from Bullitt County elementary and middle schools and St. Aloysius competed on stage.

Before the competition, principal Bonita Franklin told the audience of her efforts to instill some confidence in Sinclair. She offered the wisdom of relaxing and knowing that he was as worthy of being in the competition as anyone else.

In the end, a nervous yet confident Sinclair survived the 50-minute contest.

The 14-year-old son of Susan Allen and Michael Sinclair won his school spelling competition for the first time, earning the right to advance to Tuesday’s finale.

“I was very, very nervous,” admitted Sinclair, an eighth grader.

He likes to write and read and that helped his spelling skills. There is also a little bit of luck to win such a contest.

On his very first word, deafening, Sinclair said he almost stumbled. 

Getting through that, he felt a little better. However, he said the words were very difficult, especially in the later rounds.

Sinclair and Wheeler battled for six rounds one-on-one.

After getting “abdominal” correct, Wheeler faltered on “alliteration.” Sinclair had to correctly spell that word and then got a final word for victory.

“Calculus” might be Sinclair’s new favorite class as he was able to spell that word for the trophy.

Prior to the school competition, Sinclair said he studied for about an hour a day. After winning over his Eastside competitors, the study time doubled.

His teachers and his classmates, as well as family assisted him, in his studying.

A tip he used on Tuesday was to look down at the ground when spelling words. He didn’t want to get lost in looking at the crowd.

“It was a relief,” Sinclair said when the final word was completed. “I never imagined I would win this competition.”

In school, the member of the academic team enjoys math and social studies the best.

And he likes to write a lot.

But on this particular night there was only one more thing to do...go to Dairy Queen for his victory chocolate milk shake.

Sharon Etherton and Kay Kendall of Stockyards Bank served as the judges.

The following were school winners:

*Brooks Elementary - Stephen Stout

*Cedar Grove Elementary - Juliana Lamb

*Crossroads Elementary - Conner Wells

*Freedom Elementary - Lauren Ogle

*Lebanon Junction Elementary - Dylan Campbell

*Maryville Elementary - Gage Harris

*Nichols Elementary - Marissa Jeffries

*Old Mill Elementary - Kyren Harper

*Overdale Elementary - Peyton Luttrell

*Pleasant Grove Elementary - Donovan McGauley

*Roby Elementary - Dalton Goff

*Shepherdsville Elementary - Devin Magruder

*Bernheim Middle - Caity Brown

*Bullitt Lick Middle - Sean Brady

*Eastside Middle - Chris Sinclair

*Hebron Middle - Shelby Baker

*Mount Washington Middle - Will Rucker

*Zoneton Middle - Krystal Seewer

*St. Aloysius Gonzaga - Conor McClure