Aaron Cohn Middle School seventh-grader David Coats won the Muscogee County School District 2014 Spelling Bee on Wednesday in the Columbus Museum.
David, 12, spelled "analogize" after runner-up Tyrian Jilles, an eighth-grader at Arnold Magnet Academy, misspelled it. Then he secured the title by spelling "palatable."
The victory certainly was palatable to David, especially after coming oh-so close last year, when he finished fourth.
"I've been here before, so I think I was one of the most relaxed people," he said. "Until we got to the final three, then I was like, 'Oh, this is unusual.'"
Tyrian, 13, competed in the district bee three years ago as a fifth-grader from Waddell Elementary. She doesn't remember how far she advanced then, "but I think it was pretty far."
Tyrian, however, still is going far this year in the world of spelling bees. As the runner-up, she will join David as Muscogee County's representatives at the Georgia District 6 bee March 1 at Fort Valley State University, in the Pettigrew Center Auditorium, starting at 10 a.m.
The District 6 winner will advance to the state contest March 21 in Atlanta, at the Georgia State University Student Center, also at 10 a.m. Each state winner will compete in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., from May 25-31.
Forty-five students in grades 4-8 competed in the Muscogee County bee, held in the museum's Patrick Theatre. On the 91st word, David emerged as the winner.
"Analogize" stumped Tyrian, she said, because she hadn't heard of the word.
"I just spelled it like it sounded," she said. "A-n-a-l-y-g-i-z-e."
David wasn't familiar with "analogize" either, "but I've heard of 'analogy,' and then I was like, 'Well, I've heard of the 'gize' part, so I put them together and got rid of the 'y.'"
The winning word, "palatable," also was a strange one to David. "That's why I freaked out there," he said with a laugh.
But he composed himself by realizing he knew the word "palate."
"Then a I just added 'able,' and 'taste good' was the definition," he said.
David said he doesn't study word lists a lot.
"You can learn as many words as you want," he said, "but what it's really about is when you come up there and they give you a word you don't know. I kind of try to practice by being given a word that I don't know, because that's what really matters. You have to be able to mix and match in your head."
Tyrian is on the Arnold basketball team and Reading Bowl team. She wants to become a teacher.
David likes to write and is on the Aaron Cohn math team. He wants to become an author.
Are you a better speller than the best Muscogee County School District spellers in grades 4-8? Well, here's your chance to find out. These are the misspelled words during the district's spelling bee Wednesday: