What do I look like, a dictionary?

A three-member Mountain Xpress team fought valiantly to spell its way to victory on Thursday night, but in the end the effort wasn’t enough.

The occasion was the 18th annual Literacy Spelling Bee, co-sponsored by the Literacy Council of Buncombe County and Altrusa International Inc., of Asheville. Held at A-B Tech’s Ferguson Auditorium, the event pitted 15 local teams against each other in a blistering competition that stretched 2 1/2 hours before producing a winner.

The team from Asheville City Schools, made up of Chris Martin, Jocelyn Reese and Mike Lodico (shown here), ran away with the bee’s trophy, a small etched-glass award known as “The Nancy.” Coming in second was the team from Beaverdam Run, with members Amy Campbell, John Campbell and Pam Lane.

Mountain Xpress
‘s own team staggered and fell in the seventh round. Earlier in the night, our performance was encouraging, with news reporter David “Spell-master” Forbes tearing savage-like into “oligarchy” and similarly complex words, and food writer Hanna “Never met a livermush I didn’t love” Raskin displaying her knowledge of edible grains by correctly spelling “farina.” But in the end, the word “hircine,” meaning “characteristic of a goat” (as in, “dawg, that cheese is smelling hircine”) struck a fatal blow against Xpress. Even the noted spelling prowess of contributing editor Kent “Sweat Rings” Priestley couldn’t save us.

The bad news — and this is really galling — is the fact that we crumbled just before our arch-nemesis, the Asheville Citizen-Times team, did. The good news is that the event exceeded its fundraising goal.

— Kent Priestley, contributing editor


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