Katharine Close, an eighth-grader at the H.W. Mountz School in Spring Lake, N.J., is the first girl since 1999 to win the national spelling title. She stepped back from the microphone and put her hands to her mouth upon being declared the winner. She recognized the word as soon as she heard it.
“I couldn’t believe it. I knew I knew how to spell the word and I was just in shock,” said Katharine, who tied for seventh-place last year. “I couldn’t believe I would win.” —Darlene Superville —13-year-old N.J. girl wins spelling bee (Yahoo! News (will expire))