MISSOULA – One Missoula 8th grader is making big moves in academic competitions.
Reagan Remmers won the Missoula County Spelling Bee this year, and is heading to the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee later this week.
When Remmers won the county Spelling Bee for the first time in 2016, she never imagined it would get her where she is now.
“I got to the county Spelling Bee the first time and my parents were like ‘don’t get your hopes up, Reagan. This is a practice round. Maybe someday you can win’ and I’m like ‘Nah, I’m gonna win,” she said.
Well, she did win, and this year she won the county bee for the fourth time in a row.
Remmers’ aunt was a champion speller, and she wants to follow in her footsteps.
“It’s just a great feeling to have puzzled something together, and that sense of accomplishment after you’ve figured something out.”
Millions of students from all over the country have participated in the Scripps National Spelling Bee since its inception in 1941.
“Those kids are just so so smart, and I feel like I just can’t compete with them on that kind of level, but I definitely think I can make it past Round 2 spelling and hopefully past Round 3,” she said.
Remmers is in the eighth grade at Target Range Middle School. High schoolers age out of the competition, so this is her last shot at nationals.
To prepare, she uses flashcards and websites while also studying word roots and stems.
She also studies with a coach when she gets the chance, but it’s a wonder she finds any time between sports, school and other academic competitions.
“I’ll get up and sometimes, like on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would go to Quiz Bowl. But now that’s over, and then I would go to school and either go to track or swim practice afterwards, and then on Mondays and Wednesdays I would have meetings with my spelling coach.”
Back in March she was expecting to win the Treasure State Spelling Bee. She took fourth place.
She said she has only been able to make it this far with the help of her family.
“They helped me through that, and they were like ‘Okay you gotta handle it and you gotta move on and you gotta get ready for the National Bee,’ so they’ve always just been there for me and helped me through this entire process.”
Someday she wants to get a medical degree and a PhD in medical research and says this process has prepared her and helped better her mindset.
Remmers leaves for National Harbor, Maryland on Thursday. Almost 600 kids are competing this year.
— Coverage for the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee airs on ESPN on Tuesday, May 28. Finals are all day long on May 30 on ESPN 2. For more information visit http://spellingbee.com/.
Reporting by Katie Miller for MTN News