Rio Rancho Rep Wins State Spelling Bee

Word Wizard! Rio Rancho Student Qualifies for National Spelling Bee
Posted on 03/26/2019

Eilana Juarez with state spelling bee trophyImagine having to compete for nearly six nerve-wracking hours, flawlessly spelling 17 words that would give most grownups headaches and outlasting 52 of the smartest spellers in the state.  Think you could do it? 

Eliana Juarez, an eighth grader from Mountain View Middle School pulled it off with charm, poise, and professionalism, and is the New Mexico State Spelling Bee champion.  She will be Rio Rancho’s first-ever competitor at the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. 

Photo gallery

Ms. Juarez advanced to the state bee after winning the Rio Rancho district bee for the second consecutive year.  Juarez was the state runner-up last year.  

Adrian de la Peña at the microphoneThe Rio Rancho Spelling Bee qualifies two spellers for state, and RRPS’s other entrant, Rio Rancho Middle School eighth-grader Adrian de la Peña, also had a top-ten showing.  De la Peña, making his third trip to state, stayed in the very tough competition for 10 rounds and tied for seventh place.  It was by far his best effort ever, the first time he made it past the state bee’s opening round. 

How tough was it?  Well, how many of these words could you get right? 

Some of Eliana’s words:
vanilla, benevolent, meistersinger, wanton, maladroit, sassafras, fraulein, inveigh, coda, marmite, monticule, clarence, lexigraphy, spencerian, finnage, tardigrade (championship word).

Some of Adrian’s words: providence, colloquial, muslin, bromeliad, corrosion, lahar, eristic

Spelling bee wide shot showing judges, speller, and other spellers seated on stageOf the 52 spellers who started the bee, more than half “spelled out” in the first four rounds.  By Round 10, only 10 spellers were left, and that was whittled to six by Round 11.  Two more fell out in Round 12, leaving the stage to Eliana Juarez and Dhurv Grandhe, a sixth-grader from the Albuquerque Institute for Math and Science (AIMS).   The two finalists went head to head for another three rounds before Grandhe missed the word “alimentary.”  Juarez then correctly spelled “finnage” and the championship word, “tardigrade” (a type of microscopic invertebrate), to clinch the title.

Eliana Juarez soaks up the applause after winning the spelling bee.

The New Mexico State Spelling Bee includes students from school districts. charter schools, and home schools large and small throughout most of New Mexico.  The Albuquerque Journal and Nusenda Credit Union are the primary sponsors, and the Journal is responsible for coordinating and conducting the state bee.  

The National Spelling Bee will be held May 27-30 in National Harbor, MD, near Washington, D. C.