County champ!

Kayleigh Watts is the Neosho County spelling bee champion.


Three schools, nine contestants, ten rounds and one winner.

The Neosho County Spelling Bee was held Thursday afternoon at Saint Patrick’s Catholic School, with Thayer, Royster and St. Patrick’s schools participating. Kayleigh Watts, a fifth grader from St. Pat’s, took first place after spelling the word “quiche” correctly.

“Last year and other years I’ve never gotten this far, to the Neosho County (bee),” Watts said. “I’ve always missed a word in the school competition. I kind of feel like this is a nice way to finish off elementary school.”

Brylynn Wicker, also from St. Patrick’s, took second and Blaine Smoot from Royster took third. 

The first round of competition narrowed the field from nine to four, and the second round eliminated two more, bringing it down to just Watts and Wicker. They battled it out for eight more rounds until Wicker spelled the word “spherical” incorrectly. 

After Watts won, Smoot and Orlando Gutierrez of Thayer competed for third, with Smoot beating out Gutierrez with the word “parfait.”

Watts will continue to the State Spelling Bee in Fort Hays, and will also be competing in the Archdiocese of Wichita’s spelling bee. 

She is planning to study quite a bit for the state bee, but is looking forward to the trip.

“I am nervous excited,” she said.

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