Smokey Ethridge, left, an eighth-grader at West Lauderdale, and Jordan Lowe, a fifth-grader at Clarkdale, anxiously await the next word Friday in the waning moments of the Lauderdale County Spelling Bee, sponsored by The Meridian Star. A field of 89 competitors was whittled to just Smokey and Jordan after six rounds. They battled to Round 27 before Jordan emerged as the winner.

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