At end of dramatic Multi-Regional Spelling Bee in Fergus Falls, Crookston eighth-grader spells 'irides' to punch ticket back to D.C.

    Crookston High School eighth-grader Ainsley Boucher is making a return trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in May, after advancing from the Multi-Regional State Bee in Fergus Falls on Tuesday. Her "championship word" was "irides."

    Boucher made it to the national bee as a seventh-grader last year.

    Ainsley is the daughter of John and Stefanie Boucher.

    Stefanie tells the Times that 19 spellers competed Tuesday in Fergus Falls. She details the scene and how things played out for her daughter:

   “Most of them were 8th graders, from all over Minnesota (except Rochester and the Twin Cities). It only went 12 rounds this year. In the 7th round, they went ‘off list’ or what Ainsley calls ‘to the dictionary.’ In the 8th round, it was down to just two spellers and they both made mistakes.  Ainsley made a mistake on the word ‘fustian,’ but this word was so tricky the judges and announcer had to break for a meeting on how to properly pronounce it. She erroneously spelled it ‘fustion,’ so competition continued on. Ainsley's last word was ‘cacography’ and the championship word was ‘irides.’ Some of the other words she had to spell were crimp, postmortem, lederhosen, edelweiss, schipperke, mahout, Haligonian, siccative, and cinematheque. The crowd actually gasped and giggled when she nailed "cinematheque" because of its tricky ending!  She never faced an elimination situation. She's thrilled and grateful to be going back to Washington D.C. It was an amazing experience last year and she hopes to place better this time around.”