Our View: The Esteps

Posted: March 20, 2014

As a general rule, the Regional Spelling Bee is conducted each year on the eve of “March Madness,” the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Thus, it is only natural for us to try to draw comparisons between the two events.

The home-schooling Estep family makes this exercise easy — E-A-S-Y.

Let’s just say that not since John Wooden and the UCLA Bruins were regularly ringing up championships in the ’60s and ’70s has men’s collegiate basketball witnessed a dynasty to rival the Esteps’ hold on the regional bee.

The run started in 2004 with Marissa, who won again in 2006. Then brother Samuel claimed top honors three consecutive years (2010-2012). Now, it’s younger brother George’s turn.

Wednesday night at Shenandoah University, George needed 61 rounds — bee officials actually ran out of words — to become the latest Estep to walk away with spelling laurels. But the (Estep) story hardly ends there.

Over the last 39 rounds, 14-year-old George’s only competition was . . . his younger brother Edwin, 11. On and on they dueled until George correctly spelled “aggregation” — and the crown was his. Next stop: the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington.

As for Edwin, with George aging out of the competition, the stage will be his. As will, to continue the hoops analogy, the consensus top seed in next March’s spell-a-rama.