At Madison’s All-City Spelling Bee, the winning word is a surprise but not a trick

Dean Mosiman:

After a morning of handling knotty words, Kira Zimmerman seemed almost stunned when asked to spell “peril” to win the All-City Spelling Bee on Saturday.
The defending champion, Vishal Narayanaswamy, had just narrowly missed on “receptacle,” which Zimmerman then spelled correctly, leaving her the final, five-letter challenge.
She asked the Bee’s pronouncer, Barry Adams, to repeat the word, paused almost like she suspected a trick, and then said, “Ohh, peril … p-e-r-i-l” and won the hefty traveling trophy for her school and the honor of representing Madison in the Badger State Spelling Bee on March 26 at Edgewood College.
As the Hamilton Middle School eighth-grader posed for pictures, her first thought was of getting a doughnut her father, David Zimmerman, had promised during a break if she won. Then she talked about winning and moving to the state championship.