Sibling rivalry: Brother and sister will compete at N.D. spelling beeLast year’s North Dakota state spelling bee champion, won his fifth straight Grand Forks County bee over the weekend, but it took some effort to shake off his last competitor: his 11-year-old sister, Siri.
By: Chuck Haga, Grand Forks Herald
You know how it is when you’re doing something you love and a little brother or sister keeps hanging around, no matter how hard you try to get the kid to leave?
Ty Korsmo, 13, knows.
The Northwood, N.D., youngster, last year’s North Dakota state spelling bee champion, won his fifth straight Grand Forks County bee over the weekend, but it took some effort to shake off his last competitor: his 11-year-old sister, Siri.
“Everybody else was gone by Round 4, and then brother and sister duked it out for eight more rounds,” said Debbie Korsmo, their mother.
Siri tripped up on “guffaw,” and Ty finally shed her by correctly spelling “polemic,” earning a chance to defend his state title.
But Siri will be there, too. Both top finishers in the county bee earn a trip to state.
And she didn’t brood over placing second.
“When it was over, Siri said, ‘That was really fun!’ ” Debbie Korsmo said.
“I think she knew her brother was going to win, so she felt that second was like winning. Her brother has been unstoppable the past five years, and she was happy he won. Now she’s looking forward to Ty winning at state again.”
Even as the two-person contest was on, the official word pronouncer jokingly asked Siri who she was pulling for to win.
“She pointed to her brother,” her mother said.
For his part, the champ enjoyed the spirited race he had with his sister.
“I don’t think he felt pressured by her,” Debbie Korsmo said. “He was really proud of her.”
Ty and Siri did some studying and practicing together before the county bee, “but mostly they worked separately,” Debbie Korsmo said.
What got her excited about the competition was watching her brother at the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., last May. Ty was one of 50 spellers out of nearly 300 qualifiers who made it through three preliminary rounds to reach the semifinals. He was eliminated when he missed on “pratincolous,” an adjective referring to living in a meadow.
“That’s what really spurred her on,” Debbie Korsmo said. “She watched her brother compete and saw how cool that was, and she said, ‘I want to do that!’ ”
Call Haga at (701) 780-1102; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1102; or send email to email@example.com.