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Neal places second at regional spelling bee

ATHENS — If one believes in the Law of Averages Emily Neal will win the Scripps-Howard Regional Spelling bee in 2015.

Neal, who would be totally deaf if not for Cochlear implants in her ears, placed second out of a field of 55 on Saturday at Ohio University in Athens. She finished third last year.

“Anyone could make the mistake she made today,” Emily’s mother, Shelley Neal, said. “She was very confident. She knew every word she was given and didn’t have any ‘uh-oh’ moments where she felt like she didn’t know the word.”

Emily misspelled “protégé,” which is a word Shelley said Emily has spelled correctly multiple times in the past. Emily has won two-straight Lawrence County Spelling Bees and was one of four Lawrence County students to qualify for regionals. Fairland eighth-grader Brianna Brown, South Point sixth-grader Eric Daniels and Symmes Valley fifth-grader Jalyn Teasdale are the other three.

Shelley said she and Emily are going to take a break from spelling for a while then will begin preparing her school’s spelling bee in November.

The winner correctly spelled “exacerbate” and Emily would be the alternate to compete in the national bee if the winner is unable to attend.