- Associated Press - Sunday, May 22, 2016

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Erik Ramstad Middle School seventh-grader Chloe Carlson, 12, is a girl with many interests, but she said the Ward County Spelling Bee wasn’t one of them, at least not at first.

“I didn’t want to go,” she said.

But Chloe, a good speller, represented Ramstad at the Ward County Spelling Bee in February and advanced to the oral countdown round, where spellers have to spell tough words out loud, in front of an audience, and under a lot of pressure. Chloe’s dad, John, knows she knows all the words, so Chloe did her best and won the championship. The winning word at the county bee was “quell,” meaning to “put an end to,” the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/1TiqWUT ) reported.

Then Chloe went on to the state spelling bee in Bismarck March 21 and she won that too, correctly spelling “presentiment,” meaning “an intuitive feeling about the future.”

“I almost passed out when I won,” she said.

This is the third year in a row that Minot has had the state spelling champion. Madeline Rickert from Minot won the state spelling title last year and the year before.

Chloe’s prize for first agreeing to compete in the spelling bee were three pet rats she has named Moony, Wormtail and Tonks after characters from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. Her parents bought them for her.

Not everyone likes rats, but Chloe does.

“They’re like a hamster, only more cuddly,” she said.

Chloe will be heading to Washington, D.C., to represent North Dakota at the Scripps National Spelling Bee May 22-27. The finals of the national bee will be televised May 26 on ESPN, which means that the spellers will have to wear “party dresses.” Top spelling champs compete for cash prizes and other awards. There will be 285 spellers competing at the national bee this year.

Chloe’s dad has helped her to practice for the spelling competitions by reading a list of spelling words from the online subscription service and having her spell them over and over. Others have helped her to practice too.

“He’s making me read the entire dictionary,” said Chloe.

Chloe said she has learned a lot of new words. Her favorite word on the list of spelling bee words is “blancmange,” a sweet dessert. Though the word looks like it should be pronounced “blank mange,” it is actually said with a tricky French pronunciation.

Chloe said she has always liked to read, particularly books in the fantasy genre. Seeing the words in books has probably also made her a good speller, she said.

Chloe is also a writer who has written plays and stories on different online sites. To participate in those sites, she has to be a good writer who knows English inside and out, she said.

Chloe is interested in being a writer, but she said she would also be interested in becoming a game developer when she is older. She enjoys playing games like World of Warcraft. But, at 12, she thinks she will probably change her mind about her future career a few times.

Her parents, John and Jennifer Carlson, and her grandparents will all go with her to Washington, D.C., to see her compete in the national spelling bee.

Chloe has discovered something about herself and the spelling bee in the last few months.

“I like winning,” she said.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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