69. Melbourne teen finishes in top 5 of national spelling bee on ESPN

Top 100 Local Stories of 2014 in Central Florida / Headline Surfer®
Mry Horton of Melbourne finishes in top 5 in spelling bee on ESPN / Headline Surfer®Photos for Headline Surfer® /
Mary Horton of West Melbourne, is interviewed by the Orlando Sentinel for her spelling expertise.
 

MELBOURNE, Fla. -- Mary Horton, 13, of West Melbourne, spelled her way into the finals of the National Spelling Bee on May 29, in National Harbor, Md., but she finished in a tie for fifth and when all was said and done, among the top 12 contestants overall after flubbing the word "aetites."

Still, though, the Orlando metro newspaper's shining example of smartness showed she could stand up to the pressures of the national spotlight with the spelling bee carried in prime time on ESPN with zany video vignettes of the participants, including Horton showcasing her tiger-striped painted fingernails and her photos of family members, plants and cats.

Even though she didn't win it all, Horton was ecstatic about representing Central Florida after winning the Orlando Sentinel District Spelling Bee for a second year, telling the newspaper, "I tried my hardest," adding, "and that's pretty much all I can do." During the finals, Horton was on a roll, correctly spelling "tapotement," "guillemet," "logodaedaly" and "shibuichi."

Mary Hoton, spelling bee contestant / Headline Surfer®Mary Horton, 13, of West Melbourne, is shown here after her showing in the national spelling bee contest broadcast on ESPN. She finished fifth overall.

Even though she didn't win it all, Horton was ecstatic about representing Central Florida after winning the Orlando Sentinel District Spelling Bee for a second year, telling the newspaper, "I tried my hardest," adding, "and that's pretty much all I can do." During the finals, Horton was on a roll, correctly spelling "tapotement," "guillemet," "logodaedaly" and "shibuichi."

Mary Horton's showing in the national spelling bee comes in at No. 69 in the HeadlineSurfer.com countdown of the top 100 stories of 2014.

Horton was awarded $2,500 for her 5th place finish. Before she exited the stage after stumbling on the final word that saw her finish out of the championship, Horton was gracious in bowing out, saying, ""Thank you, everybody!"

For the first time since 1962, the spelling bee saw the awarding of co-champions, Sriram Hathwar, 14, of Painted Post, N.Y., and Ansun Sujoe, 13, of Fort Worth, Texas, having gone toe-to-toe on word challenges until there were none left for them to compete for in the time allotted in the ESPN airing in prime time.

 

Top 100 Countdown of 2014 / Headline Surfer®RECAP

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories narly eveenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in Wst Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.