There must be something in the water at one west metro middle school.
Minnetonka Middle School East seventh-grader Will Rooke outlasted 48 other spellers from the metro area last week to capture a coveted spot in the nationally televised Scripps National Spelling Bee, which runs from May 27 to June 2 just outside the nation’s capital.
Rooke sealed victory in Round 17, correctly spelling “capriole,” which is a movement performed in classical riding, in which a horse leaps from the ground and kicks out with its hind legs.
He joins five other Minnesota masters of the dictionary heading to the long-running national showdown, which is telecast by ESPN. They are: Briana Joseph, a seventh-grader from Fairmont Junior/Senior High School who made it to the prelims of the national bee in 2015; Forestview (Brainerd) eighth-grader Meryl Tigenoah; Staples-Motley eighth-grader Rose Han; Ainsley Boucher, a seventh-grader from Crookston High School; and Thomas York, an eighth-grader who attends St. Francis of Assisi School in Rochester.
York’s father, Michael, advanced to the national bee in 1982 from Saginaw Valley, Mich.
Last May, eighth-grader Max Meyer at Minnetonka Middle School East was a finalist in the national spell-down, bowing out when he missed with “dulia,” the reverence accorded to saints and angels. Max offered: d-e-u-l-e-i-a. In 2015, he came in 11th at the national bee.
The National Spelling Bee started in 1925 with nine contestants. Minnesota has had one national champion, Sean Conley, of Shakopee, in 2001.