This is a fruit

It's the start of Round 13, and there are 11 spellers left. 

"This is a fruit, a citrus fruit, and it's Chinese," said Simone Kaplan, speller 65, when she heard her word -- "huanglongbing."


Not quite, but it was clear Simone knew the word, despite the ooohs of the audience. It's really a destructive disease of citrus plants that is caused by bacteria and characterized especially by yellow mottling of the leaves; small, often misshapen fruits; and progressive yellowing of the entire plant.

The Florida seventh grader nailed it.

Simone said before the finals that some of the words were "incredibly difficult" and she was pleased with how well she was able to do.

"I am very proud of myself," she said. "I'm very relieved I got the words I did."

Simone tied for 10th place last year and 189th in 2017.