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Three-time spelling bee champion set for final defense

Published: Saturday, March 1, 2014 10:17 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, March 1, 2014 10:27 p.m. CDT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Lucas Urbanski’s dynasty of words is still a few letters short.

The Immanuel Lutheran eighth-grader has one final chance at national spelling bee glory starting with the 2014 McHenry County Spelling Bee at 7 p.m. Wednesday at McHenry County College, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake.

Urbanski has won the county spelling bee three consecutive years, securing trips to Washington, D.C., for the Scripps National Spelling Bee with each victory. He has done better with each trip, finishing in a tie for 19th out of 281 other spellers last year and appearing on ESPN2 for the first time.

“Last year when I made the semifinals, that was a big step up for me,” he said. “Hopefully this year I can make the finals.”

The 14-year-old said it has been a little difficult to not look past the county competition that will feature 11 other spellers from area schools, but he knows anything is possible. One challenger who will not be there is last year’s runner-up Scarlett Costello, who Urbanski said gave him a strong challenge.

“You never know. There could be someone good who has never been in [the bee] before,” he said. “I’m hoping I’ll get back to D.C. and I’m keeping a positive attitude about that.”

The county spelling bee is a joint effort between the McHenry County Clerk’s office, McHenry County Regional Office of Education and Northwest Herald, with the winner and a family member receiving an all-expenses paid trip to the national spelling bee.

Watch online: The 2014 McHenry County Spelling Bee will be streamed live on

Competitors in McHenry County Spelling Bee:David Amoo, Mary Endres Elementary SchoolHaley Bowen, Marengo Middle SchoolChase Duncan, Nippersink Middle SchoolHannah Johnson, Northwood Middle SchoolAlexander Joseph, School District 200-WoodstockShannon Mastey, Harvard Jr. High SchoolDerrick Nguyen, McHenry Middle SchoolBrooke Peterson, Prairie Grove Jr. High SchoolCameryn Piskule, Marlowe Middle SchoolClare Urbanski, Richard Bernotas Middle SchoolLucas Urbanski, Immanuel Lutheran SchoolKaili Wegener, Parkland School

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