Melbourne teen finishes in top 5 in National Spelling Bee broadcast on ESPN

13-year-old Mary Horton won the Orlando Sentinel's district contest to make nationals

Mary Horton, 13, of West Melbourne, FL, was a 5th place finisher in 2014 National Spelling Bee contestHere is a link to the Orlando Sentinel's story on Mary Horton and the National Spelling Bee headlined, 'Central Florida speller out after making top 12 at National Bee: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-spelling-bee-orlando-champ-20140529,0,2544428.story.
 

MELBOURNE -- As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, 13-year-old Mary Horton of West Melbourne spelled her way into the finals of the National Spelling Bee on Thursday in National Harbor, Md., but she finished in a tie for fifth and finished 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 Thursday night, Horton was on a roll, correctly spelling "tapotement," "guillemet," "logodaedaly" and "shibuichi."

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!"  

Mary Horton, 13, of Melbourne, FL was in the National Spelling Bee / Headline Surfer®Mary Horton, 13, is shown in this screen shot taken from a video interview with the Orlando Sentinel after winning the newspaper's district championship to earn a trip to the 2014 National Spelling Bee contest broadcast on ESPN in prime time.

Even though she didn't win it all in the 2014 National Spelling Bee on ESPN, Mary 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 Thursday night, Horton was on a roll, correctly spelling "tapotement," "guillemet," "logodaedaly" and "shibuichi." 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.

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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 for a decade now. 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 dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.