Fourteen-year-old Lynette Junker thought she knew how to spell the word phalacrosis off the top of her head.
But the girl who was crowned state spelling champion Thursday night did it wrong.A reporter's tape of her answer, which she spit out without hesitation, shows she said p-h-a-l-i-c-r-o-s-i-s.
"Oh my!" said Joan Estes, a coordinator of the bee, when told about the discrepancy. "I don't know. The judge's decision is final and they didn't hear it right I guess.
The new bee queen was in school Friday and could not be reached for comment. Her mother, Myra, said the family did not realize the mistake until they got home late Thursday.
"I didn't really realize she had spelled it wrong myself. I don't have any comment on it really," Mrs. Junker said.
The second-place winner, 13-year-old John Fred of Minot, was disqualified when he misspelled the word clairvoyant.
Junker now will represent North Dakota in the national spelling bee in Washington, D.C., in May.
Phalacrosis, by the way, is another name for a bald spot.
The bee was sponsored in part by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.