Regional spelling bee champ eliminated in semifinals

Muriel Cotman at the Scripps National Spelling Bee semifinals.

Muriel Cotman asked for an alternate pronunciation before diving into the spelling of "ensilage," the process of preserving fodder, dry food for livestock.

"E-n-s-e-l-a-g-e," Muriel, 13, said into the Scripps National Spelling Bee microphone.

The judge's bell rang, indicating that Muriel, a home-schooled student from Cuero, had been eliminated from the competition.

Muriel was one of 46 semifinalists at the national competition Thursday morning, when she tied for 37th place with nine other students after misspelling her first word of the day.

"I was excited and proud and grateful that I got that far," Muriel said.

Of the 46 semifinalists, six were Texans, and five were home-schooled, said the Rev. Bill Cotman, her father.

"We are very proud of her and she is glad to be done," her father said.

Muriel said she and her, parents planned on celebrating Thursday with some Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

With one more year of eligibility left, Muriel said she's not sure if she will compete next year.

"I want to wish luck to the next Region III champ - assuming it's not me," Muriel said.