Second place isn’t all that bad . . . unless you lose by two measly points—mere syllables in terms of a spelling bee competition!

On Saturday, November 19, 2011 the Harwood Union Middle School spelling team traveled to Northfield to face off against fellow regional spelling team winners from around the state to compete for the Vermont Principal’s Association (VPA) state spelling team championship title. Harwood was up against Missisquoi Valley, Sharon Academy and Middlebury teams.

After 10 grueling rounds of fierce competition, Harwood was behind Middlebury by six points, in the 11th it was four points, and then in the 12th and final round the team was within two points of the title.Middlebury and Harwood were within six points of each other throughout the entire bee, and they ended the final round with a score of 132 as compared to Middlebury’s winning score of 134.If there were more rounds in the competition, it was clear that the win could have gone to either team.

“It doesn’t get much closer than that,” coach Judi Gross told the team after the competition. “During that last round you had your parents on the edge of their seats!” Seventh-graders on the team plan to study hard to make the team next year, and eighth-graders are looking ahead to the individual spelling bee which takes place in the spring.HUMS spelling team members include Sadie Bolger, Anna Van Dine, Lily Martin, Curtis Wilcox, Nina Sklar, Anneka Williams and Michaela Magee. The team, as well as the Harwood Union Middle School faculty, staff and administration thanked community member Judi Gross for volunteering to coach the team for yet another year.Gross will be pronouncer at the individual schoolwide bee in February, and looks forward to coaching another successful team next year.Congratulations to Gross and the 2011 HUMS spelling team: runners-up for the VPA state spelling team competition title!