A bearded collie named Chamomile bested 53 opponents in the Northwest Regional American Spelling Bee on Tuesday, taking home second prize. It’s her fifth ribbon in three years.
“This bee was absolutely riveting ” says Carolyn West, who moderated the competition at Chicago’s Twin Oaks High School. “I’ve never seen such fierce determination.”
According to reports, the action heated up when it came down to the final five.
“Chamomile went toe-to-paw with an eighth grader from Michigan,” says West. “We’re talking about words like ‘prospicience’ and ‘esquamulose.’ She barked through those like it was nothing. The second-to-last round almost tripped her up, but she stalled by asking for a definition. Eventually, she worked it out.”
In the end, though, first prize went to AJ O’Connor, a 10th grade student from Oregon.
“I know Chamomile was disappointed, but second place is nothing to sneeze at,” says West. “There’s some serious scholarship money attached, and the top colleges will come calling.”