BUCKSPORT — Experience paid off for Imogen Page Tuesday night, as the eighth-grade student at Blue Hill Consolidated School won the Hancock County Spelling Bee for the second consecutive year.
Last year Page went on to win the state spelling bee and represent Maine in the national contest held in Washington, D.C.
“I know the system now,” Page said. “I had a great run last year. I went to nationals, which was incredible.”
Eleven participants sat on stage at the start of the contest, which went on for more than an hour, with most of the time devoted to a head-to-head battle of intellect and nerves between Page and the eventual runner-up, Andrew Marsh, an eighth-grade student at Bucksport Middle School.
Page and Marsh’s duel continued for more than 20 rounds.
Marsh stumbled on “intractable,” replacing the initial letter with an “e.” According to the spelling bee rules, Page needed to correctly spell the word her opponent had misspelled, and then correctly spell another word to win.
She nailed “intractable” and sealed her victory with spelling the final word: “suave.”
No one could know whether Page was able to simply rattle off the correct spelling, or not, because she responds to every word she’s asked to spell in the same deliberate manner.
Asked about her style, Page said it comes from the experience she gained last year.
“It is good just to slow yourself down, even if you know the word,” she said.
She said she gets “quite a lot” from the language origins of words. A word derived from French, for instance, reveals particular letter combinations and suggests the use of silent letters.
As Hancock County’s champion, Page will participate in the state spelling bee Saturday, March 28, at Trinity Catholic School in Lewiston.