The team from the Healthy Worthington Coalition did not have to employ prestidigitation to win the Worthington Community Spelling Bee last week.

The team from the Healthy Worthington Coalition did not have to employ prestidigitation to win the Worthington Community Spelling Bee last week.

They did, however, have to spell it correctly.

And they did, in the final round of the 16th annual spelling contest sponsored by Leadership Worthington and held March 17 on the stage at Worthington Kilbourne High School.

This was a repeat win for the Healthy Worthington team, which this year was made up of Kent Shimeall, Melissa Robol and Sharyn Talbert.

They edged out perennial powerhouse spellers from OCLC. With wordsmith Peter Insabella at the helm, the OCLC team has won the contest four of the last seven years.

This year, Insabella and his teammates Karen Tkach and Thom Seelbach faltered on the word "recumbentibus" during the final, head-to-head round with Healthy Worthington.

Healthy Worthington spelled that word correctly, then spelled prestidigitation to take top honors among the 23 teams.

Robol, a piano teacher, did not hesitate when the final word was pronounced. Two weeks earlier, an 8-year-old student, ironically named Ben Webster, had told her how to spell the word.

Shimeall attributes his team's success to the luck of the draw.

"We did our usual preparation, which was no preparation," he said.

He is an attorney with the Ohio office of the Attorney General. Talbert is an adviser in the English Department at Ohio State University.

The words this year were more difficult than in past years, Insabella said. Some had roots that were not easy to understand, others he had just never heard before.

Nevertheless, his team correctly spelled gabbro, girandole, propinquity, amanuensis, abnegation, and facetiosity.

Placing third was the Friends of the Worthington Library team, which came in second in 2008. Team members this year were Rachel Rubin, Kara Reuter and Talia Robbins.

The Worthington Board of Education team came in fourth. Team members were Charlie Wilson, David Bressman and Julie Keegan.

This year's first-team-out was from Dublin-Worthington Rotary. Pierre Dominic, Tim Shear and Dave Kittredge misspelled frolf (Frisbee golf), which was the first word in the second round.

The contest followed the same rules as usual. Teams of three assemble on the stage. A pronouncer reads a word, defines it and uses it in a sentence. Each team has one "pass" option. Otherwise, the competition is single-elimination, until the final round.

When the field is reduced to two teams, they face off with difficult words. The first team to correctly spell a word that was misspelled by the other team - then spell a second word correctly - wins the event.

Prizes are donated by area businesses and include restaurant gift cards, savings certificates and oil changes. Proceeds support the programs of Leadership Worthington.

This year's master of ceremonies was Amy Donovan of Radio 93.3.

Pronouncer was Ken Keller, a former radio announcer and advertising executive who once was the pronouncer for the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee.

Judges were Brian Elder, National City Bank; Lt. Doug Francis, Worthington Division of Police; and Marc Schare, Worthington Board of Education.