Penn's Spell Bowl squad wins 12th state championship

By: Newscenter Sixteen
By: Newscenter Sixteen

Penn High School's Spell Bowl squad won its 12th state championship in the past 14 years at Purdue University-West Lafayette on Saturday afternoon.

The Kingsmen racked up a perfect score of 90 to tie Martinsville for the top overall spot in the 30 team state finals field.

In a dramatic two and one half hour dual, Penn and Martinsville slowly pulled away from the rest of the field, matching word for word until the final word was spelled before a standing room only crowd in the Loeb Auditorium.

This was the 14th consecutive year that the Kingsmen or the Artesians have won or shared the state title.

For Pete DeKever's Penn team, the state title perfect score meant they correctly spelled a total of 715 out of a possible 720 words during the 2012 season for a .993 accuracy percentage.

The perfect mark was Penn's 34th in history. It is estimated that there have been only about 47 total perfect scores ever achieved in Indiana Spell Bowl history.

Three Penn High School senior spellers and co-captains broke the unofficial state Spell Bowl career scoring at Saturday's finals.

Leah Hershberger, Penn's lead-off speller, was the first to break Chang's record.

Hershberger ended her career with 305 words correct. Later she was
followed by Austin Heckaman and Jenny Huang, who both finished with a perfect 306/306 words correct for their careers.


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