BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C.–Nervousness — Cane Bay 8th-grader Brent Ebarle knows what the word means and knows how to spell it. Ebarle won the 2018 Berkeley County School District Spelling Bee Wednesday evening for the second-straight year. To the audience, he seemed to quickly fly through his words with ease.
He’s a young man on a mission, inspired to again compete in the national bee in Washington, D.C. He’s practiced several times a week since falling in the second round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Ebarle appeared to be a calm, confident young man to the audience, but he says he was nervous just like other competitors. He said the key to conquering a spelling bee is calming your nerves. Little did spectators know, he was nervously spelling words, using his fingers and his hands while they were tucked away in his jacket. It’s a technique other spellers were more visibly practicing — some even pausing to spell the word in their hands before speaking.
Ebarle said even though he’s prepared himself well, he was nervous about the BCSD bee and is also a little nervous about the regional bee to be held at Charleston Southern University.
Finishing behind Ebarle in the top three of this year’s bee were Nicholas Smith of Berkeley Middle School (second) and Ian Mullaney of Daniel Island School (third).
The top 12 spellers from the BCSD bee, listed below, advance to the Lowcountry bee.
1. Brent Ebarle – Cane Bay Middle School
2. Nicholas Smith – Berkeley Middle School
3. Ian Mullaney – Daniel Island School
4. Devlin Fletcher – Cane Bay Middle School
5. Makayla Hampton – St. Stephen Middle School
6. Autumn Maxwell – Hanahan Middle School
7. Mittie Borden from Macedonia Middle School
8. Jarod Ames – Westview Middle School
9. Bianca O’Neill – Westview Middle School
10. Daniel Weiss – Cross Elementary School
11. Gracie Reed – Daniel Island School
12. Hannah Rowan – Hanahan Middle School