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Chloe Holoman Spells Win At Lakes Bee

STAPLES -- M-A-D-E-L-E-I-N-E. R-E-N-D-E-Z-V-O-U-S. E-I-N-K-O-R-N. Those three words -- featuring nuanced pronunciations and difficult, non-English roots -- Royalton eighth-grader Chloe Holoman had to spell correctly to pass the final rounds and win the Lakes Spelling Bee at the National Joint Powers Alliance center in Staples. However, none of them ranked as the toughest test Holoman faced to win the contest and earn herself a place at the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee -- running May 27 through June 1 in Washington, D.C. Instead, it was a word many readers may be much more familiar with: “Persistence,” Chloe said after the spelling bee was over. “I couldn’t remember if its ‘T-A’ or ‘T-E.’” There’s a certain irony to that. Adversity, struggle -- these are often the things people persist against in the first place, yet Chloe glided through the increasingly difficult gauntlet of words with barely a trace of effort. “Madeleine,” “rendezvous” and “einkorn” would give many spellers pause, even the most adept, but Holoman rattled them off with ease, as if she was merely reading from a page before her mind’s eye. The combination of poise and an eerily sharp memory bodes well for the young speller’s future, said Cathy Riewer (pronounced “Reever,” thanks to the german “W”), the head judge of the event and an observer of more than two decades of spelling competitions. “She didn’t hesitate. She will represent our region well,” Riewer said. “When she heard the word, she had an idea of the origin, the roots. Sometimes words have interesting combinations of letters and she didn’t have to decipher them, she just went through it.”