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Young wordsmiths yesterday showed they were way past their ABCs as they took on the English language with full force.
Hundreds of pupils from the wider Central Otago area packed the Cromwell College auditorium yesterday for the Otago Daily Times Extra! spelling quiz.
They split into teams of three and were tested on spelling, word origins, abbreviations and dictionary research ability.
The winners of the years 5 and 6 section, Amy Winter, Aimee Coudret and Bjork Swain, of Cromwell Primary School, scored 97 out of a possible 100, beating 38 other teams.
Aimee said she thought the team lost a few points in the round in which they had to guess the origin-country of words.
Bjork said she was worried what her team-mates' winning reactions would be.
"I was scared they were going to scream and embarrass me.''
Second place was a three-way tie between teams from Queenstown Primary School, Holy Family School in Wanaka and The Terrace School in Alexandra.
The 41-team years 7 and 8 category was won by Ben Wearing, Maya Bromby and Andrea Javier, of The Terrace School, who scored 95 out of 100.
Andrea said she would not call the quiz hard: "But it's fun.''
A team from Remarkables Primary School in Queenstown was second, and third place was shared by teams from The Terrace School and Arrowtown Primary School.
Extra! editor Ivan Behrnes said there had been some "excellent scores''.
"Many schools travelled a long way, which is great to see,'' he said.
Years 9 and 10 pupils will get their turn tonight.