Yucca student makes it to second round of national spelling bee

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

WASHINGTON — Clovis’ Zachary Gillooly spelled decoupage — the art of decorating surfaces by applying cutouts — without a hitch, but he did not advance beyond the second round of the 78th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Gillooly, two-time regional spelling champ, did not score enough points Wednesday in a written test to qualify for the third round.

Only 93 of the original 273 contestants advanced to the third round. Still, Gillooly, an incoming freshman at Yucca Junior High, let out an audible sigh when reviewing the words he missed.

“On the written word test,” Gillooly said, sighing, “I missed some. If you get enough points you go to round three. I ended up with 16 points. One word I missed was thelytokous.”

A score of 22 was needed to pass into the third round, according to a Scripps staff member. Thelytokous — which means to produce only females — was only one of many tough words Gillooly encountered, he said. Round two words were drawn from the 2005 Paideia, an official Scripps study booklet, with some additional words chosen from the 2005 Sponsor Bee Guide, the bee’s official web site said.

ESPN will begin airing the fifth round at 8 a.m. (MDT) today. Gillooly said he will watch the rest of the bee today and squeeze in some tours of the capitol, accompanied by his mother.

“On Friday, we are going to tour George Washington’s home and Alexandria. So that will be fun,” Gillooly said.

The competitors included 146 boys and 127 girls, ages 9 to 14, who were being tested from a list of 950 specially chosen words.

Each speller wins at least $50. The first-place winner gets $28,000 in cash, scholarships and bonds, plus books from Encyclopedia Britannica.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.