TOP SPELLERS: Lydia Middleton Elementary School student Riley Watkins, above, looks to a screen to see if he spelled his word correctly in the first round of the Primary Spell Bowl on Thursday at E. O. Muncie Elementary School. Rykers’ Ridge Elementary School student Madison Ginn, below, smiles and waits for the next word after spelling a word right in the first round of the Primary Spell Bowl. Lydia Middleton and Rykers’ Ridge tied and won the Spell Bowl. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
TOP SPELLERS: Lydia Middleton Elementary School student Riley Watkins, above, looks to a screen to see if he spelled his word correctly in the first round of the Primary Spell Bowl on Thursday at E. O. Muncie Elementary School. Rykers’ Ridge Elementary School student Madison Ginn, below, smiles and waits for the next word after spelling a word right in the first round of the Primary Spell Bowl. Lydia Middleton and Rykers’ Ridge tied and won the Spell Bowl. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Two teams discovered how to spell success Thursday night at the annual Madison Consolidated Schools Primary Spell Bowl.

Both Lydia Middleton Elementary and Rykers' Ridge won the spelling competition. Each elementary school had a final score of 54 points through eight rounds of spelling and four tiebreakers.

Spell Bowl organizer Susan Thevenow announced that the two teams were still tied after the four tiebreaker procedures, and that both teams were the winners.

"This is maybe the second time this has happened in Spell Bowl over the last 10 years," Thevenow said.

The procedure for breaking a tie is to look at how many "tiebreaker words" each team spelled correctly at the end of every round. If that doesn't break the tie, judges then determine how many perfect scores each team had, followed by how many students only missed one word. The final tiebreaker procedure is determining which team had the greatest number of "tiebreaker words" that were spelled correctly in succession. Even after all that, the schools remained tied.

Jodi Kiefer, a second-grade teacher and Spell Bowl coach for Rykers' Ridge has been coaching the team off and on for 10 years. She said it's the first time since she's been there that the team has won.

"The kids are all very excited," she said.

Kiefer said her students had practice sessions twice a week at school, and practiced more at home as well to prepare.

Lydia Middleton's coach, second-grade teacher Trina Hanson, said her students have been practicing spelling as many words as possible since early February.

This is the third consecutive year Lydia Middleton has won the Spell Bowl.

Every elementary school in the Madison Consolidated School corporation was represented in the competition, with E.O. Muncie enrolling a blue team and a white team which earned 45 and 42 points respectively. Dupont also fielded a team that came in third place with 51 points.

Each team, which included first-, second- and third-graders, had eight spellers and four alternates. Students had 25 seconds to spell each word given by announcer and Madison Consolidated High School Spell Bowl coach LeAnne Eberts. During each of the eight rounds, the students were given seven words to spell while a proctor checked and scored the work at the end of the round. The elementary principals, and district superintendent Dr. Ginger Studebaker-Bolinger served as the final judges.

Lydia Middleton's team consisted of Connor Cox, Gibsen Faulkner, Curtis Jacobs, Ruby Jacobs, Hailey Jenkins, Alaina Kelley, Sonny Koren, Waylon Marshall, Madison Martin, Taylor Lynch, Kaden Oliver and Riley Watkins. The team was coached by Jennifer Colen and Hanson.

Rykers' Ridge spell bowl team is made up of Madison Ginn, Lily Konkle, Annie Mahoney, Grace Pittman, Taylor Harsin, Kyli Bell, Tre Chatham, Kaitlyn Rutledge, Lindsey Shephard, Danny Winters, Brayden Richards and Natalie Stewart, with team coaches Christi Burnett and Kiefer.