Farmington seventh-grader wins county spelling bee

Students competed in more than 25 rounds

Megan Petersen
Farmington Daily Times
Rhys Triplett, a seventh-grader at Hermosa Middle School, poses with his first-place plaque after winning the San Juan County Spelling Bee on Monday in Bloomfield.
  • Farmington seventh-grader Rhys Triplett took first after correctly spelling hollandaise and tahini.
  • Farmington seventh-grader Sierra Johnson and Kirtland sixth-grader Rhys Balasuit took second and third place, respectively.
  • The three county champions will compete in the New Mexico Spelling Bee on March 24 in Albuquerque.

FARMINGTON — A new San Juan County Spelling Bee champion was crowned on Monday at Bloomfield High School.

Rhys Triplett, a seventh-grader at Hermosa Middle School in Farmington, won the bee after correctly spelling the words hollandaise and tahini to win the competition.

He took first over Heights Middle School seventh-grader Sierra Johnson, who finished second, and Judy Nelson Elementary School sixth-grader Rhys Balasuit, who took third place.

Nine students from the Bloomfield, Central Consolidated and Farmington school districts competed on Monday after winning their individual school and district spelling bees in December, according to Kevin Summers, Bloomfield Municipal School District director of curriculum and instruction. Spelling bees are open to students in fourth through eighth grades.

The spellers competed in more than 25 rounds of spelling, Summer said. The three county champions competed in some 20 rounds by themselves in the hour-long competition.

“It was really pretty impressive,” Summers said.

Heights Middle School seventh-grader Sierra Johnson poses with her second-place plaque after the San Juan County Spelling Bee on Monday in Bloomfield.

Balasuit, Johnson and Triplett all qualified to compete in the New Mexico Spelling Bee hosted by the Albuquerque Journal on March 24 at Sandia Preparatory School in Albuquerque. The top three spellers from the state competition will qualify to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in late May in National Harbor, Maryland, Summers said.

The 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion, Ananya Vinay from Fresno, California, earned her title by correctly spelling the word marocain, which is a type of fabric, according the Scripps website.

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or mpetersen@daily-times.com.

Judy Nelson Elementary School sixth-grader Rhys Balasuit poses with his third-place plaque after the San Juan County Spelling Bee on Monday in Bloomfield.