CASTINE — Adams School eighth-grader Syra Gutow won the Maine State Spelling Bee by correctly spelling “menhaden,” which is a species of fish in the herring family.
The event was held in Portland on Saturday.
Before spelling her championship word, Gutow won the final round by correctly spelling “cynosure,” a person or thing that attracts a lot of interest.
Gutow will represent Maine in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May in National Harbor, Md.
“It feels amazing,” Gutow said on Monday, midway through a snow day off from school.
Gutow said her championship word, “menhaden,” was on a list of words the contestants were given to study.
However, Gutow noted that the moderator is allowed to ask words that aren’t on the list.
Gutow plans to begin studying for the nationals.
“On April 5, they release more words to study for people going to nationals,” Gutow said. “I really have no expectations going into this.”
Gutow said she hadn’t expected to win the state bee. She made it to the state bee after winning a “spell-off” against Colin Aponte of Brooklin.
The spell-off was held because Gutow and Aponte spelled their way through three hours and 57 rounds of the county bee on Feb. 11, exhausting all words available for the bee.