Vindicator spelling bee champ eliminated from national competition

Mackenzie Sambroak eliminated in Round Two of national competition

By Jordyn Grzelewski


Although Mackenzie Sambroak, The Vindicator’s 85th Regional Spelling Bee champion, was eliminated in Round Two of the national spelling bee Tuesday, the Roosevelt Elementary fifth-grader already has her sights set on next year’s contest.

“She’s already said she’s starting her study plan. She has every intention” of being back next year, said her mother, Meghan Sambroak.

Mackenzie was eliminated in the first oral spelling round of the competition after misspelling “inanga.” The 91st Scripps National Spelling Bee began Tuesday with preliminary rounds.

Preliminaries began Tuesday morning with a multiple-choice test containing spelling words and vocabulary questions. The first oral spelling round took place Tuesday. Those who weren’t eliminated will participate in Round Three today. The finals take place Thursday.

Mackenzie qualified for the national bee after winning first place in The Vindicator’s bee in March on the word “tour de force.” She beat nearly 50 competitors from Mahoning and Trumbull counties. The trip to the national competition was sponsored by The Vindicator.

The national bee began with 519 contestants from across the country.

Although the outcome was not what Mackenzie and her family were hoping for, Meghan said the experience in D.C. has been “absolutely amazing.” The Sambroaks will be in D.C. until Saturday, as the bee has a full schedule for participants this week.

“It’s just been so cool. She’s gotten to meet so many kids,” Meghan said. “They’ve got stuff planned for them every night. Different speakers are coming. There’s a big closing ceremony and an after-party for the kids.”

As a fifth-grader, Mackenzie was on the younger side for the competition. The national bee reported that only 6.2 percent of this year’s participants are in fifth-grade, with the highest percentage, 43.2 percent, in eighth grade.

Meghan said it’s hard to put into words what it was like to see her daughter qualify for the national competition.

“The experiences she’s had are something she’ll remember the rest of her life,” she said.

More like this from

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.