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Fletcher buzzing along in national spelling bee

Set to compete in today’s quarterfinal

STEUBENVILLE — Isabella Fletcher was nervous about her answer in the third round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee preliminary rounds on Saturday.

Despite the tense moment of uncertainty, hours of studying paid off as she successfully spelled “truckle” and earned a place in today’s quarterfinals on ESPN3.

“I didn’t think I got the word right,” Fletcher, the Jefferson-Harrison County Regional Spelling Bee champ, admitted. “Your heart just like sinks (when you think you got it wrong).

“It’s great to move on. I’m just ecstatic, I can’t believe it. To be on national TV and to do well is unbelievable.”

During the first round of Saturday’s preliminaries, Fletcher correctly spelled “telegnosis,” then, provided the correct definition of “a refusal to comply with authority” for the word “recusancy” in the second round.

Providing a correct definition was an added twist to the preliminaries this year, though Fletcher, who said prior to Saturday’s competition she used multiple resources to study for several hours a day to prepare for more than 800,000 possible words and definitions, said it was one she had studied.

“The definition wasn’t that bad because I had studied the word before,” she said. “It’s such a relief (when it is a familiar word). But you have to focus and remember the information you studied to be sure.”

Fletcher, the daughter of Marlo Fletcher and Jayapal Reddy of Steubenville, recently completed the seventh grade at Harding Middle School. She said the short turnaround from Saturday to today will be a challenge.

“It’s stressful because I’ve been trying to cram a lot of study time in,” she said. “It’s the whole dictionary now.”

The quarterfinal rounds begin at noon today and run until 6 p.m.

The semifinals begin on June 27, with the finals taking place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort on July 8.

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