CLAYTON — Cascade High School’s Spell Bowl team took home another state championship Nov. 10 at the 28th annual Indiana Academic Spell Bowl Finals at Purdue University in West Lafayette. This makes the third consecutive year that Cascade has brought home the championship.
Spell Bowl coach Cindie Corn said she was ecstatic with the team’s success and attributed it to “hard work in a competition that never gets easier.”
“I think we came together as a team more than ever before,” she said. “And we studied so much harder because we had to. I know more Spell Bowl words than I ever thought I’d know.”
Administered by the Indiana Association of School Principals and Department of Student Programs, the Spell Bowl format is a competition where each word is graded immediately and an individual scoring chart maintains a running team score as the event progresses. More than 2,000 spectators viewed the event. Each round consists of one team member writing the correct spelling of nine words whilst competing against a member of a different school.
“Going into it, they were so focused, and really we were all a little nervous, but after the first five or six rounds we felt pretty good,” Corn said. “It was just sheer happiness ... just to realize the goal of the whole season. For months and months we worked toward this goal, and to do it as a team was really, really special.”
Spell Bowl words change each year, so Corn says it’s not possible to draw on past success.
“We were first in the county, and then first at Spellapalooza, which is the invitational we host, and then at Martinsville we did OK,” Corn said. “But losses kind of spur us on. I think you get better from your mistakes.”
Cascade’s crew posted an 80 at their area tournament, the highest score they’d ever had in advancing through the state tournament over the years. That left three weeks to prepare for the main competition.