Two well-read women from the Hills won the Worthington Community Adult Spelling Bee this year.
Barb Alexander and Sharon Keaney, representing the Worthington Hills Women's Club, correctly spelled dowager and febrility in the final round to win the annual event held March 19 on the stage at Worthington Kilbourne High School.
A record 28 teams competed in the bee, which is presented by Leadership Worthington as a fundraiser. This year marked the 21st bee.
Spelling their way to second place this year was the student "Bee" team from Thomas Worthington High School.
Alexander, a retired fundraiser for United Way, and Keaney, a partner in Dayton Precision Services, attributed their success to a solid early education, reading and a little luck.
"We were taught to read with a dictionary by our sides," Alexander said.
The two belong to the same book club and have been friends for years but did not get together to prepare for the spelling bee.
"You either know it or you don't," Keaney said.
She has competed seven times, though for other teams in past years. She has spelled for Worthington Business and Professional Women and for Leadership Worthington.
Other words they spelled correctly include fervor, ceremonial, reassurance, gravitas, antipyretic and jicama. They passed on glockenspiel.
The third-place team was from St. John's Episcopal Church.
Perennial spelling bee winning team OCLC came in fourth place, stumbling on vargueno.
The first team to be eliminated wins dictionaries. This year that prize went to the team from the Linworth Alternative Program.
Most of the teams comprise three people who gather on stage to spell until they miss a word. Each team is allowed one pass.
Local businesses donate door prizes and prizes for the top teams.
The first-place prize was dinner at the Worthington firehouse. Second-place winners received $50 gift cards.
Keenan Blanke was the master of ceremonies, Clay Cormany was the pronouncer, and Marc Schare, Kathryn Paugh and Matt Greeson were judges.