CAPE ELIZABETH — Sam Scala of Portland won the Cumberland County Spelling Bee in Cape Elizabeth Tuesday night.

An eighth-grader at Lyman Moore Middle School, Scala spelled perfectly for 26 rounds against a field of 18 students from nine different schools. The spellers ranged from fifth through eighth grade.

Scala’s winning word was Boswell, which Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines as “a biographer whose information is obtained through close observation of, or intimate association with, the subject.” James Boswell was a Scottish lawyer and writer best known for his biography of English writer Samuel Johnson.

Scala will join all the other county champions at the Maine State Spelling Bee at Hannaford Hall on the campus of the University of Southern Maine in Portland on March 24.

Stefan Bell, an eighth-grader from Harrison Middle School in Yarmouth, placed second after getting tripped up in the 25th round on nebbish, a word of Yiddish origin that refers to “a person regarded as, variously, pitifully inept, ineffective, shy, dull, etc.”

Katie Gallagher, an eighth-grader at Lincoln Middle School, finished third. She was perfect for 17 rounds before failing on illuminati, a word of Italian origin that refers to “people who have or profess to have special intellectual or spiritual enlightenment.”

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