Grant Pace ensured Saturday that Platte County still reigns supreme when it comes to producing regional champion spellers.
Grant retained his title from a year ago by winning the 2012 Northwest Missouri Regional Spelling Bee. He correctly spelled “nadir” — the point of the celestial sphere that is directly opposite the zenith.
It marked the sixth straight year that a student from Platte County has won the regional bee.
The Park Hill eighth-grader received hearty congratulations after taking top honors at the bee, sponsored by the News-Press and held at St. Francis Xavier School. He credited a positive attitude and belief in himself as keys to carrying the day among 29 other competitors.
“Studying is really important,” Grant said. “Another important thing is to slow down and take your time.”
He competed at the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., but failed to advance after missing “cataclysmic” in the third round. This time, he will compete as speller number 140 among 256 other students. This year’s bee week is set to begin May 27 in the nation’s capital, with the News-Press underwriting Grant’s trip.
Parents Steve and Jill Pace praised their son’s efforts.
“It’s awesome,” his mother said. “This has just been a passion of his.”
Academics are challenging to him, she added.
Brett Riche, an eighth-grader at Clinton County Middle School, placed second, stumbling on “flamboyant.”
Lucas Bruce, another Park Hill eighth-grader, finished in third place.