He Came, He Saw, He Spelled: Bryner Competes at National Spelling Bee


Pictured: Bryner, second from left, poses with his first-place award at the Southeast Educational Service Center Regional Spelling Bee where he was named as winner and one of Utah’s representatives. Photo courtesy of SESC.

14-year old James Bryner could probably tell you how to spell “reiterative.” He may have to ask you the word’s country of origin and definition, but after a few seconds, he would most likely be able to spell it without much of a second thought.

At what was the Carbon County native’s reiterative time at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Bryner represented not only his hometown proudly but other areas of the state as well.

“I represented southeast Utah,” Bryner explained. His portion of the beehive state included counties such as San Juan, Juab, Carbon as well as Emery.

One of over 250 spellers, Bryner had an advantage over a number of his fellow competitors in that this was his second year at the bee.

“I kind of knew what was going to happen,” he explained, adding that his years’ worth of experience helped him feel a bit more confident and understand what to expect.

The road to the national competition started for Bryner at his local school, Mont Harmon Middle School in Price where he managed to spell his way to victory at recurring bees until he qualified to represent southeastern Utah at the Southeast Educational Service Center Regional Spelling Bee, hosted in March at Green River High School.

Though the local youth has received trophies, medals and accolades, Bryner still encounters challenges every now and again. “French words,” Bryner admits with a laugh when asked about a challenge he faces when spelling. “Those are always way hard. That’s probably the hardest thing.”

French words aside, the national competition began for Bryner the final week of May, where he began his second run at the national bee, housed near the nation’s capital. The first round, a written test made up of 30 questions, helps to filter out students before those who qualify advance to two additional oral rounds before resulting in the fifty finalists.

Bryner fared well at the competition, placing 46th after the oral test and representing his home area well for the second time in a row.

Of all the words he has come across, Bryner, with some thought, was able to produce one of his favorites that he encountered at the national level. That word, “floruit,” may be unfamiliar to most who come across it. Bryner, however, knows it by heart.

And in case you missed it, the word is spelled f-l-o-r-u-i-t. Floruit.

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