WINNING THE Belmont County Spelling Bee is a notable achievement.
Repeating as champion is a superb fete.
Union Local Middle School student Justin Hamilton did just that Thursday night at Ohio University Eastern. The triumph will send Hamilton to Washington, D.C. for the national event in May for the second straight spring.
Hamilton's repeat title is the exclamation point on his remarkable spelling resume in Belmont County. He was a rare four-time qualifier in the event. Prior to capturing successive titles, he was the runnerup as a sixth grader.
Such success doesn't come by chance.
Hamilton obviously has the mental make-up, knowledge and poise to deliver under pressure. He has displayed that the past three years.
Hamilton was forced to work overtime in his bid to repeat. The competition went beyond the standard 12 rounds, with three competitors left standing.
Hamilton was challenged by Marcus Clark and Jamie Fogle, both of Martins Ferry Middle School.
Clark has authored his own impressive spelling bee resume. He was the Belmont County champion as a sixth grader and the runnerup the past two times around.
We extend our congratulations to Hamilton on his second spelling championship, as well to Clark who has exhibited superb ability. We also commend all those who had a hand in making such a prestigious and challenging event a reality.