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Sisters finish top two in GMR Spelling Bee

Sisters Elizabeth and Audrey Gust hold up their number one and number two fingers after finishing top two in the GMR Spelling Bee in Greenbush on January 26. (photo submitted by Mara Gust)

Six students had misspelled a word in the Greenbush-Middle River spelling bee on January 26, leaving two students remaining to face off for first place honors. It just so happened these two spellers both reside under the same roof: sisters Elizabeth and Audrey Gust.
Their mom and GMR teacher Mara Gust sat in the audience watching, her heart racing and experiencing all kinds of different emotions.
“I was really excited and proud of them, but really nervous because I wanted them to both do the best they could but I knew they both couldn’t win,” Mara said.
A seventh-grader, Elizabeth was competing in her second straight spelling bee, having finished third last year. Since the bee is only open to fifth to eighth graders, fifth-grader Audrey was competing in her first spelling bee.
Asked about facing each other in the spelling bee, the sisters had differing views.
“I didn’t want to lose to her because then… she would be like the only fifth grader at (regionals) in Thief River and also she’d probably never let me forget it (if she beat me),” Elizabeth said with a laugh.
What was Audrey thinking? She had some sisterly love in mind.
“I just didn’t want to beat her because I didn’t want her to be sad,” Audrey said as Elizabeth chuckled in the background.
Audrey would incorrectly spell the word defensiveness to finish as runner-up and Elizabeth would correctly spell the word cyclops to come away with the spelling bee crown.
Advancing, Elizabeth would compete at the regional bee at Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls on Wednesday, February 7.
To see more of this story, read the February 7 issue of The Tribune in print or online at To find out how well Elizabeth did at the regional bee, read the February 14 issue. 

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