Photo courtesy of University of Maryland Eastern Shore

A Speller's Journey to Washington, D.C.

The spelling bee journey takes students from the classroom all the way to final regional bees. From small towns to big cities to other countries, we are following the local spelling bee experience. Here is a sampling of local coverage to celebrate spellers' unique paths to our national stage.

Photo: Texas Christian University

Local Spelling Bee Coverage

Houston Sends Top Two Winners to DC

In the final regional spelling bee of 2018, Houston is sending its top two spellers from the competition. This year, Pranav Chemudupaty, from Alvin Independent School District, was the champion, and Benjamin Chen, a student at Beaumont Independent School District, was runner-up. Houston is the largest regional competition, with 1,060 enrolled schools. 

Photo credit: Houston Public Media

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Garrett Bryner Wins Return Trip to DC

Garrett Bryner, an eighth-grader at Mont Harmon Middle School in Price, Utah, is returning for the second time to the national finals. He correctly spelled “Danube” to win the regional spelling bee sponsored by the Southeast Educational Service Center. Thanks to RSVBee, Garrett's brother, Pierce, also will compete, making them the first-ever set of twins to participate at the same time.

Photo credit: ETV 10News

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Dina Miranda Wins Marathon Event in CA

Dina Miranda, a seventh-grader at Stanford Middle School in Long Beach, California, has earned a trip to the national finals after winning the Los Angeles County Regional Spelling Bee. It was a marathon event that lasted 10 hours with more than 500 words. The championship word for Dina was "grivoiserie."

Photo credit: South Bay Community News
 

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Nilla Rajan Gains Focus for Return Trip to DC

Nilla Rajan, a seventh-grader at Bishop Flaget School in Chillicothe, Ohio, is returning to the national finals for a second time. She previously competed in 2016, and now she is back with experience, preparation and a new focus. She won the regional spelling bee sponsored by Ohio University's Scripps College of Communication with the word "Mozambique."

Photo credit: Chillicothe Gazette

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Almudena Soler Follows Brother's Winning Ways

Despite the lingering impact of Hurricane Maria, many children in Puerto Rico remained dedicated spellers. Nearly 30 students qualified for the Eureka Enrichment and Learning Center national spelling bee. Almudena Soler, a fifth-grader, was crowned the champion. Her brother was the Puerto Rico champion in 2013, but Almudena was too little for the trip. Now she has her own opportunity.

Photo credit: Spelling Bee Puerto Rico

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Jah'Quane Graham Dances to VI Victory

Jah'Quane Graham, a sixth-grader from Juanita Gardine Elementary School in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, said if he won the 2018 Territorial Intermediate Spelling Bee, he would dance to celebrate. After correctly spelling "exceedingly," he danced on stage for all to enjoy. The Virgin Islands Daily News is the longtime sponsor of the competition. 

Photo credit: St. John Source
 

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Joshua Saylor Repeats as AK Winner

Joshua Saylor, a seventh-grade student at Mirror Lake Middle School in Chugiak, Alaska, raised his arms in triumph after winning the Alaska State Spelling Bee for the second year in a row. He defended his title as champion by correctly spelling "pompier" in the ninth round.

Photo credit: Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News

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Rahul Naveen Plans for Long Trip to DC

Rahul Naveen, an eighth-grader at Medea Creek Middle School in Oak Park, California, is the champion of the SAGE Ventura County Spelling Bee and will represent Ventura County and SAGE Publishing at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington. Rahul outlasted 130 competitors and spelled through 29 rounds before winning by correctly spelling "effervescence."

Photo credit: Ventura County Star

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Prisha Patel Continues Family Tradition in NC

Prisha Patel, a sixth-grader at Rocky Mount Academy in North Carolina, continued the family legacy by winning the Advancement Spelling Bee, sponsored by the Delta Center for Life Development. Prisha took the top prize with the word “terrapin.” Her brother won the competition last year. She thanked her parents for helping her prepare. 

Photo credit: Rocky Mount Telegram

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Anika Gundlapalli Works Hard for Return to DC

Anika Gundlapalli, a sixth-grader at Nimitz Middle School in Odessa, Texas, was determined to return for a second opportunity at the national finals. In the 35th round, she knew "valves" and spelled it correctly to earn that repeat trip. Anika attributed her win to preparation and study, and said it was cool to see that work pay off.

Photo credit: Justin Lee, Odessa American

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Dominic Taylor Is Calm in MI Victory

Dominic Taylor, a seventh-grader at Chatfield School in Lapeer, Michigan, will never forget the word “sketchy.” The word sealed the victory for him in the 2018 Lapeer County Spelling Bee. His confidence and Albert Einstein T-shirt likely helped, too. When asked by a local reporter if he was nervous about the competition, he commented, "No, not really. It wasn’t too bad."

Photo credit: The County Press

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Tobi Shorunke to Represent ND

Ninety-eight students qualified to compete in the North Dakota State Spelling Bee. In the end, it was Tobi Shorunke, an eighth-grader from Ben Franklin Middle School in Fargo, who won with the word "millibars." The North Dakota Association of County Superintendents sponsors the program, which includes 184 enrolled schools. 

Photo credit: MyNDNow.com

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Dante Marinacci Also Wins for NYC

Dante Marinacci, an 11-year-old from Kinneret Day School in Bronx, New York, said a little bit of luck certainly helps when it comes to the spelling bee. The Daily News advances two spellers to the national finals, and the second day of competition was a good one for Dante. He correctly spelled "peristome" to win the title and a trip to Washington, D.C.

Photo credit: Jefferson Siegel, New York Daily News

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Nidhi Achanta Is Spelling Queen in Seattle

Nidhi Achanta, a student at Maywood Middle School is making plans for a cross-country trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national finals. She won the 2018 King-Snohomish County Regional Spelling Bee by accurately spelling "pleurodynia." 

Photo credit: SeattleChannel.org

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Pranathi Jammula Wins Austin, TX Inaugural Bee

Pranathi Jammula, a 12-year-old from Kealing Middle School in Austin, Texas, is the winner of the city's first regional spelling bee competition. A total of 47 spellers from 10 central Texas counties competed in the event. The West Austin Chamber of Commerce hosted the event. 

Photo credit: West Austin Chamber of Commerce

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Abhinav Palle Wins First Try in PA

In his first experience at the regional level, Abhinav Palle, a 13-year-old from Abington Heights Middle School in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, won the 34th Times Leader Spelling Bee. His winning word was "de facto." Abhinav said he has been working on his spelling by reading more books and having his parents quiz him. 

Photo credit: Amanda Hrycyna, Times Leader

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Wisconsin Sends Three, Including Co-Champions

For the first time in at least 40 years, there are two Wisconsin spelling bee champions. Hanna Ghouse, an eighth-grader at KTEC-West in Kenosha, and Immanuel Goveas, a fifth-grader from Riverside Elementary School in Menomonee Falls, were crowned co-champions of the 2018 Badger State Spelling Bee, sponsored by the Wisconsin State Journal. For many years, Wisconsin has advanced the top three spellers. Runner-up Maya Jadhav, a fourth-grader at Madison’s Eagle School, will join Hanna and Immanuel at the national finals.

Photo credit: Greg Dixon, State Journal

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Charity Jordan Wins for Third Time in WA

Charity Jordan, an eighth-grader at La Conner Middle School in Washington, is heading back to the national finals for the third time after winning the 2018 Skagit Regional Spelling Bee. She eagerly anticipates a reunion with spelling friends from across the country. Her winning words were "entomologist" and "de facto." 

Photo credit: Scott Terrell, Skagit Valley Herald

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Aaron Ehsan Goes 51 Rounds in TX Win

Aaron Ehsan, a fifth-grader at Dudley Elementary School in Victoria, Texas, is continuing the family tradition, started by his brothers, of excelling at spelling. He won the regional spelling bee in the 51st round by correctly spelling "anschluss." Aaron's oldest brother competed in the national finals in 2010. 

Photo credit: Madelynne Scales, Victoria Advocate

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Nathaniel Rimocal Wins in TX

Nathaniel Rimocal, a third-grader from Kennedy-Zapata Elementary School in Laredo, Texas, won the Laredo Morning Times regional spelling bee. His winning word was "dyslexia."

Photo credit: Laredo Morning Times

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Co-Champions Declared in Dallas

In the Dallas Regional Spelling Bee, co-champions Naysa Modi, a seventh-grader at Reynolds Middle School, and Abhijay Kodali, a fifth-grader at Liberty Elementary School, exhausted the list of words. The Dallas Sports Commission intended to send the top two spellers to the national finals, so after 27 rounds of competition, the last two students were named co-champions. This will be the fourth appearance in the national finals for Naysa and the first for Abhijay. Naysa finished seventh in the nation in 2017. 

Photo credit: Rose Baca, The Dallas Morning News 

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Sophia Roberto Puts Bee First and Wins

Sophia Roberto, a sixth-grader at the Philadelphia Academy Charter School, won the 24th annual Philadelphia Tribune Regional Spelling Bee. This was her first appearance in the regional competition. She said participating and winning takes time and dedication. She said she sacrificed other things to put the bee first, but was so happy that she won.  

Photo credit: Marissa Weekes Mason, The Philadelphia Tribune

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Akansha Nanda Wins on Third Try in NM

A try, try and try again strategy paid off for Akansha Nanda, a sixth-grader from Carlos Gilbert Elementary School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, who beat out 45 competitors from around the state to become the winner of the 2018 New Mexico Spelling Bee. She won in the 15th round of this year’s competition by correctly spelling the championship word "Mozambique."

Photo credit: Marla Brose, Albuquerque Journal

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Colin Aponte Confidently Wins in ME

For 30 rounds, Colin Aponte, a 13-year-old home-schooled student from Blue Hill, Maine, calmly and confidently spelled every word in the 2018 Maine State Spelling Bee. Colin watched his brother win the same event in 2013. He said he studies spelling lists every night, and he advances to the national finals with "crescendo."

Photo credit: Ben McCanna, Press Herald

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Jayden Lee Has Dramatic Win in CA

After intense, prolonged competition, Jayden Lee, a fifth-grader from Bella Vista Elementary School in San Ramon, California, won the East Bay Times 2018 Contra Costa County Spelling Bee. This was Jayden's first countywide spelling competition and now he has advanced to the national finals. His winning word was "tracheostomy."

Photo credit: Dan Rosenstrauch, East Bay Times

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Marcus Giorza to Represent AZ

Marcus Giorza, a seventh-grader from Madison School in Phoenix, is the 2018 Arizona Spelling Bee winner. His winning words were "pulque" and "anthophilous." This is the 20th year the event has been sponsored by the Arizona Education Foundation. Marcus will represent all of Arizona in the national finals. 

Photo credit: Arizona Education Foundation

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Hannah Archer Wins on Fourth Try in OH

Persistence was key for Hannah Archer, an eighth-grader from Fort Frye Schools in Beverly, Ohio. She won the Marietta Times Regional Spelling Bee on her fourth try at the event. Hannah was runner-up the past two years. She outlasted 63 other spellers when she correctly spelled "spinet" and "blasé." 

Photo credit: Michael Kelly, The Marietta Times

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Joel Greenly Surprises Himself with OH Win

Joel Greenly, an eighth-grader at Midview Middle School in Grafton, Ohio, said he was confident he would get far in the 35th annual regional spelling bee. Winning the competition, sponsored by the Educational Service Center of Lorain County and The Chronicle-Telegram, was a surprise. The school is celebrating too. Joel is the first "Middie" to advance to the national finals. 

Photo credit: Steve Manheim, The Chronicle-Telegram

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Ethan Smith Shines in IL Bee Win

Ethan Smith, a seventh-grader from Dunlap Middle School in Peoria, Illinois, was crowned the winner after 11 rounds of competition in the Star Journal Regional Spelling Bee. He enjoyed an introductory taste of what spelling on TV is like since the local WEEK Channel 25 recorded the event. He correctly spelled "rheumatologist" for the win. 

Photo credit: Fred Zwicky, Journal Star

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Will Robson Continues Family Tradition

Will Robson, an eighth-grader at St. John's Preparatory School in Danvers, Massachusetts, is carrying on the family tradition of spelling excellence. He won the 33rd Annual Daily Item Regional Spelling Bee just as his brother, Mitchell, did from 2014 to 2016. Will can use the experience he's gained watching the national finals when he gets his turn in the spotlight. 

Photo credit: Spenser R. Hasak, The Daily Item

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Christopher Serrao Continues Family Win Streak

Christopher Serrao is heading to Washington, D.C., for the third time. The first time, he watched his sister compete. The second two he earned a spot in the national finals by winning the Discover Lehigh Valley Regional Spelling Bee in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The 11-year-old Readington Middle School student correctly spelled "kiddush" and "eland" to secure his second regional win. 

Photo credit: Tim Wynkoop, Lehigh Valley Live

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Evan Bishir Enjoys Efficient IN Win

Evan Bishir, a fifth-grader at Park Elementary School in Fairmount, Indiana, is looking forward to his first visit to Washington, D.C. He is advancing to the national finals after a relatively short competition with 70 fellow students at the Indiana Wesleyan University Spelling Bee. His final two words were "poinsettia" and "charlatan."

Photo credit: Jeff Morehead, Chronicle Tribune

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Reading Helps Koleton Briecke Win in NY

Koleton Briecke, an eighth-grader at Minisink Valley Middle School in Middletown, New York, gave his mom/coach a big hug after winning the Orange County regional spelling bee. His winning word was "reconcilable." Koleton said the secret to being a good speller is reading. His entire family plans to make the trip to the national finals. 

Photo credit: Allyse Pulliam, Times Herald-Record                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
 

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Riya Joshi Repeats as Chicago Champion

Riya Joshi, a seventh-grader at Whitney Young Magnet High School's Academic Center, defended her title in the Chicago Public Schools Citywide Spelling Bee. All school bee winners in the area took an online assessment to determine the final 50 students who would participate in the onstage competition.

Photo credit: Chicago Public Schools 

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Sharanya Chatterjee Wins in First Appearance in FL

Sharanya Chatterjee, a sixth-grader from Hunter’s Creek Middle School in Orange County, Florida, was a first-timer at the Orlando Sentinel's 57th annual spelling bee. She clinched her victory by correctly spelling “Hanoverian.” She and her family moved to the United States from the United Kingdom three years ago. She is also quite the musician. She plays four instruments. 

Photo credit: Orlando Sentinel

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Torah Smith Wins in Dramatic Fashion in MA

Torah Smith, a home-schooled student from Fitchburg, Massachusetts, stood at the microphone in disbelief when the pronouncer spoke her championship word. She didn't know it. She asked for all the clues and then correctly spelled "kiddush." She raised her arms in celebration as the crowd erupted in applause. She defended her regional title and will return to the national finals. 

Photo credit: Sentinel & Enterprise

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Allison Jones Earns Applause from IN Crowd

Allison Jones, a seventh-grader at Orleans Schools in Indiana, emerged from a field of 21 spellers to take championship honors at the Orange County Publishing Company's Great Spelling Bee. Her two final words were "newfangled" and "carnivore." An enthusiastic crowd cheered for the participants, recognizing the hard work that went into reaching this level. 

Photo credit: Paoli News-Republican

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Pranav Kollu Relies on Word Origins

The Kane County Spelling Bee came down to a battle between two fifth-graders. Pranav Kollu from Cambridge Lakes Charter School in Pingree Grove, Illinois, won the title and the trip to the national finals with "degage." Pranav said he paid particular attention to the word origins during his studies, and that knowledge helped him spell.

Photo credit: Sandy Bressner, Northwest Herald

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Neel Iyer Wins in NYC

Neel Iyer, an eighth-grader from East Side Middle School in Manhattan, was the superior speller in the Daily News Annual Spelling Bee. He competed against 70 students from all five boroughs in New York City. His winning word was “rheology.” This was the 54th year for the event, which is sponsored by the city newspaper.

Photo credit: Susan Watts, New York Daily News

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Bharath Ram Takes Top Prize in FL

After 40 rounds, Oakridge Middle School seventh-grader Bharath Ram improved his second-place finish from 2017 to win the Collier County district spelling bee. He earned the trophy and the trip to the national finals with “fortification.” He said spelling is important to him, but he wasn't able to study much because of a different academic competition. That will change for nationals.

Photo credit: Olivia Vanni, Naples Daily News

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Lucas Tusinean Wins Tri-State Bee

In the Tri-State Spelling Bee, spellers from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania came together to spell it out on stage to see who would advance to the national finals. Lucas Tusinean, an eighth-grader from Dingman-Delaware Middle School in Dingman's Ferry, Pennsylvania, emerged as the champion, after correctly spelling “giraffe.”

Photo credit: Pat DeMono, Times Herald-Record

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Eric Kim Wins Return Trip to National Finals

A year away from the national finals was too long for Eric Kim, a sixth-grader from Wakefield Forest Elementary School in Fairfax, Virginia. So he's going back again, after winning the Fairfax County Spelling Bee. He has another chance to compete on the national stage. He correctly spelled "kibitzer" to win. 

Photo credit: Fairfax County Council PTA
 

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Johnathan Randall Wins for Third Time in the Bahamas

Johnathan Randall, a 12-year-old from Central Eleuthera High School in the Bahamas, is the country's top speller. He hesitated to compete for a third time in the 21st Bahamas National Spelling Bee, but his mother's encouragement convinced him. He said he feels honored to represent his country at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. His final word was "amphivorous." 

Photo credit: Torrell Glinton, The Nassau Guardian

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Praneeth Devireddy, 8, Wins Big in NC

At only 8 years old, Praneeth Devireddy is quite the spelling machine. The third-grader at Coddle Creek Elementary in Mooresville, North Carolina, wowed the crowd with his spelling efficiency, including his final two words — "laterite" and "horotelic" — to win the 78th annual Winston-Salem Journal Regional Spelling Bee. 

Photo credit: Andrew Dye, Winston-Salem Journal

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Ryan Presler Achieves Goal in SD

Ryan Presler, a seventh-grader from Brandon Valley Middle School in Brandon, South Dakota, was determined to not be the runner-up again at the University of South Dakota Spelling Bee. His preparation was focused and the hard work enabled him to reach his goal— winning a spot in the national finals. His final winning word was "theomachy." 

Photo credit: University of South Dakota

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Autumn Reeves Looks Forward to DC Adventure

Autumn Reeves, a sixth-grader from Forest Area Middle School in Traverse City, Michigan, dedicated time and effort to reach the regional event this year, after falling short in 2017. She did more than reach it — she won it. She was confident with most of the words, including those in the final rounds. In addition to the spelling competition, she'd like to see the White House while in D.C. 

Photo credit: Keith King, Traverse City Record Eagle

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Rahul Reddy Wins on Fourth Appearance in MI

On his fourth trip to the Oakland Schools Scripps Regional Spelling Bee, Rahul Reddy, an eighth-grader at Notre Dame Preparatory Academy in Pontiac, Michigan, decided, this time, not to study so much. With the pressure off, he rose to the occasion to win by correctly spelling “notabilia.” For his collective years of effort, he earns a trip to the national finals. 

Photo credit: Dean Potter, The Oakland Press

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Samantha Ho Will Savor Trip to DC

Samantha Ho, a Thornburg Middle School sixth-grader in Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia, did not want to repeat as runner-up in the 13th annual Fredericksburg Spelling Bee. When she had her opportunity, she correctly spelled "“chrysanthemum” and "amphivorous" to win the large trophy and a trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. 

Photo credit: Peter Cihelka, The Free Lance-Star

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Jenna Ng Wins on First Attempt in VA

Jenna Ng, a fifth-grader from New Covenant Schools in Lynchburg, Virginia, had plenty of skill to go with her beginner's luck in her first appearance at The News & Advance’s Regional Spelling Bee. She and her fellow spellers did their best to avoid the dreaded bell. On the 300th word, Jenna correctly spelled "version" to advance to the national finals. 

Photo credit: Jay Westcott, The News & Advance

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Jared Mueller Jumps for Joy in TN

Jared Mueller, a sixth-grader at Cedar Bluff Middle School in Knoxville, Tennessee, could hardly contain his excitement after winning the News Sentinel Southern Appalachia Regional Spelling Bee. In his fourth appearance at the event, and after his second-place finish last year, he was motivated to win. His winning word was "Talmud." 

Photo credit: Saul Young, News Sentinel

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Lohith Chatragadda Wins Marathon in RI

Lohith Chatragadda, an eighth-grader at Lincoln Middle School in Rhode Island, cracked a smile after winning the Rhode Island State Spelling Bee. The contest lasted 27 rounds and is on the books as one of the longest in the state's history. The Valley Breeze sponsored the event held at Lincoln Middle School.

Photo credit: The Valley Breeze

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Kabir Rathore Muthu Crowned Spelling King in OR

Kabir Rathore Muthu started with "bagel," and three hours later he won the Oregon Regional Spelling Bee with "hesperid." The seventh-grader from Access Academy in Portland considered himself lucky to get words he knew. The competition, sponsored by the Portland Tribune, took place at the Hollywood Theatre. 

Photo credit: Zane Sparling, Portland Tribune
 

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Tanvi Rakesh Repeats as KY Winner

Tanvi Rakesh is enjoying quite a winning streak. The fifth-grader from Longbranch Elementary School in Union, Kentucky, has won five school bees in a row and is now a repeat national finalist. She won the WCPO 9 On Your Side Kentucky/Indiana competition with the word "canoa." WCPO sends two regional winners to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Photo credit: WCPO 9 On Your Side

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Irene Calderon to Represent SW OH

Round after round, spellers competed at the WCPO 9 On Your Side/Scripps Ohio Regional Spelling Bee to earn a ticket to the national finals. Irene Calderon from Summit Country Day School in Cincinnati was the last one standing after she correctly spelled "Talmud." WCPO sends a second regional winner from the SE Indiana/Northern Kentucky area.  

Photo credit: WCPO 9 On Your Side

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Adith Joshua George Awaits Spelling and Fun

Defending champion, Adith Joshua George, an eighth-grader from Holy Angels School in Sidney, Ohio, is returning to the national finals where he is looking forward to "spelling with a little bit of fun in between." He correctly spelled "asana" and "segue" in the Lima News Spelling Bee to win a repeat trip to D.C. 

Photo credit: Sam Shriver, The Lima News
 

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Kris Patel Wins After Long Wait in NY

Kris Patel, a sixth-grader at Horseheads Intermediate School in New York, battled a classmate at the end to win the Corning Rotary Club Spelling Bee. The bee lasted several hours and included 62 students. Kris said the experience was amazing. He's been practicing his spelling since he was in the first grade.

Photo credit: WENY-TV

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Mischa Abad Wins on First Try in NV

Mischa Abad, a fifth-grader from Somerset Academy in Henderson, realized the significance of her accomplishment when she won the Nevada State Spelling Bee. This was the first year the competition allowed fifth-graders to compete. Mischa had a big smile on her face after correctly spelling "cambio" and "palmette." 

 

Photo credit: Nevada State Spelling Bee

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Stephanie Lewis Wins in First Regional Bee in NE

"Leechcraft" wasn't a word she knew, but that didn't stop Stephanie Lewis, an eighth-grader from Marrs Magnet Center in Omaha, Nebraska, from spelling it correctly to win the Midwest Spelling Bee and a trip to the national finals. This was her first appearance in the regional event. She thanked her father for coaching her for the past several weeks.

Photo credit: Chris Machian, The Omaha World-Herald

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Hanna Closs Follows Sister's Winning Ways in NC

Hanna Closs, an eighth-grader at Lucas Middle School in Durham, North Carolina, is charting her own spelling path after watching her sister succeed for several years. Hanna won the ninth annual Duke University Regional Spelling Bee. Her winning word should give you an idea of the difficulty the competition reached in just 11 rounds — "ornithofauna."

Photo credit: WRAL.com

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Experience Helps Aidan Veress Win Again in MT

Having one national finals experience under his belt, Aidan Veress, an eighth-grader from Gardiner School in Montana, said this year there wasn't as much pressure. His calm and cool demeanor helped as he worked through some tricky words in the Treasure State Spelling Bee. He took first place for the second year in a row when he correctly spelled "Talmud." 

Photo credit: Casey Page, Billings Gazette

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Alice Liu Stays Calm in MO Repeat

Alice Liu, a sixth-grader from Crestview Middle School, stayed calm as she anticipated each word in the rounds of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Spelling Bee. She bested 49 other finalists to earn a return trip to the national finals. She was one of the top 15 in the finals last year and is working hard to return to the finals in 2018. Her winning word was "alcheringa."

Photo credit: Jon Gitchoff, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Iris McDonnell Advances on Fourth Try in NY

Iris McDonnell, an eighth-grader at Oswego Middle School in New York, will head to the Scripps National Spelling Bee after outlasting 25 other competitors in the regional event. She's been waiting and studying for a long time. She competed at the regional level for three years in fourth through sixth grade. Her final two words were "intaglio" and "edelweiss." 

Photo credit: The Palladium-Times

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Storrie Kulynych-Irvin Wins Inaugural Event in MD

In the first year for the Maryland Sports Spelling Bee, Storrie Kulynych-Irvin, a home-schooled student, outlasted 23 other students from five counties and Annapolis to win. Her championship word was "patel." She said her interest in spelling originated with the fun she had with spelling tests. Now, she's on her way to the national finals. 

Photo credit: Paul W. Gillespie, Capital Gazette

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A Determined Mira Yu Returns for Boston Win

A misspelled word in 2017 was all the motivation Mira Yu, a seventh-grader at Boston Latin School, needed to study and prepare for this year's Boston Centers for Youth and Families citywide spelling bee. Her younger sister helped her study pronunciations and roots. Mira proudly hoisted the first-place trophy after spelling "cacophony" for the win. 

Photo credit: John Wilcox, Boston Herald
 

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Calvin Alexander Gets a Second Try in DC

Calvin Alexander, a seventh grader from Caddo Middle Magnet in Shreveport, Louisiana, is the champion for the second consecutive year of the Northwest Louisiana regional spelling bee, sponsored by Louisiana State University and KTBS-TV. His winning word was “nectarivorous.” The competition involved 22 spellers from 28 regions, and it lasted 20 rounds.

Photo credit: KTBS 3 On Your Side  

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Thomas Gross III Wins in Dramatic Fashion

The 30th annual Links, Inc./The Times-Picayune Spelling Bee in New Orleans came down to an impressive and dramatic conclusion. Thomas Gross III of LaPLace Elementary won with "tritium" after 25 rounds of words just between the last two spellers. The appreciative crowd gasped in disbelief over the difficulty of some words during the 40-round competition.

Photo credit: Dinah L. Rogers, NOLA.com

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Maya Jyothinagaram Is Exhilarated with IL Victory

Persistence paid off for Maya Jyothinagaram, an eighth-grader from Maroa-Forsyth Middle School in Decatur, Illinois, when she won the Central Illinois regional spelling bee on her fifth time competing in the event and after years of studying. Her winning word was "agave" in the 17th round. 

Photo credit: Clay Jackson, Herald & Review

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Eleanor Gallagher Win Is Music to Her Ears

It was fitting for an eighth-grader from St. Patrick School in Terre Haute, Indiana, to win the Tribune-Star Wabash Valley Regional Spelling Bee on St. Patrick's Day. Eleanor Gallagher squared off with 23 other students from Wabash Valley elementary and middle schools before spelling the championship word for a musical instrument she recognized, "spinet." 

Photo credit: Joseph C. Garza, Tribune-Star

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Joseph Moran Wins Again in Idaho

Joseph Moran, a sixth-grader from North Idaho Home Educators Association, won the 15th annual North Idaho Regional Spelling Bee. Joseph is the returning champion for his region that includes 40 schools across North Idaho. The event lasted 26 rounds and Joseph won by correctly spelling "arachnid" and "surveillance." 

Photo credit: North Idaho Regional Spelling Bee

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Savannah Huber Wins with Unique Strategy in ID

Savannah Huber, a student at Challenger School in Meridian, Idaho, had a different kind of strategy before the Southwest Idaho Regional Spelling Bee. She didn't study. After coming in sixth place last year with studying, she didn't want to get her hopes up for this year. She won with "deity."

Photo credit: KIVI 6 On Your Side

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Round of Applause for Amith Vasantha in CA

Amith Vasantha, a seventh-grader from BASIS Independent Silicon Valley School in San Jose, California, received an enthusiastic send-off from his classmates as he embarked on the KPIX-TV/CBS Bay Area Spelling Bee regional finals. The cheers continued as Amith won when he successfully spelled “clogwyn.” 

Photo credit: KPIX-TV

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Nehem Felices Surprises Himself with PA Win

Nehem Felices, an eighth-grader at Landisville Middle School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was just trying to improve on his 2017 performance of third place. He was shocked and bewildered when he won the 60th Annual LNP Spelling Bee by correctly spelling "kiloton." He and his family are now making plans for the unexpected trip to the nation's capital. 

Photo credit: Suzette Wenger, Lancaster Online
 

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Saketh Sundar Wins for Third Time in Maryland

Saketh Sundar, seventh-grader at Clarksville Middle School in Maryland, is the first three-time Howard County Library System Spelling Bee champion. The competition lasted more than five hours and ended with Saketh correctly spelling "boudin." Saketh made it to the prime time finals on ESPN last year. 

Photo credit: Howard County Library System

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Jasper Ralph Feels no "Fatigue" in Victory

Jasper Ralph, a fifth-grader from the West Tisbury School, bested five other competitors to win the 26th Annual Martha’s Vineyard Schools Spelling Bee. Jasper correctly spelled “apathy” and “fatigue” to win. Thanks to the regional high school and The Martha's Vineyard Times for being the sponsors of the program. 

Photo credit: Martha's Vineyard Times

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Kyu Alegre to Represent all of Georgia

In Georgia, it all came down to one competition to determine who would advance to the national finals. From thousands of spellers across the state, there were just 20 in the 57th Annual Georgia Association of Educators State Spelling Bee. Kyu Alegre, a seventh-grader from Carrollton Junior High in Carrollton City, emerged as the winner.

Photo credit: Carrollton City Schools

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Ali VanTassel Gets Win on Third Try in NY

In her third appearance at the Jefferson-Lewis-St. Lawrence Regional Spelling Bee in Watertown, New York, Ali VanTassel, a sixth-grader from Indian River, won by correctly spelling “chronology.” A total of 21 students in grades four through eight competed in the 30th year of the regional competition. 

Photo credit: Daytona Niles, Watertown Daily Times

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Tai Nakamura Outlasts 100 Spellers in NJ

After four hours of spelling at the North Jersey Spelling Bee, Tai Nakamura, a sixth-grader from Patrick M. Villano Elementary School in Emerson, claimed the title and supersized trophy by correctly spelling "strabismus." The competition, in its 81st year, began the event with 100 spellers.  

Photo credit: Michael Karas, NorthJersey.com

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Co-Champions Declared in Lake Co, IL

Co-champions have emerged from the Lake County Regional Spelling Bee in Grayslake, Illinois. After several rounds of spelling between the final two spellers, the coordinators announced co-champions. Sharanya Pastapur of Lake Zurich Middle School, and Anmol Dash from Daniel Wright Junior High School, both eighth-graders, now advance to the national finals. 

Photo credit: Emily K. Coleman, News-Sun

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Kevin Luo Has Winning Strategy in San Diego

Pacific Trails Middle School eighth-grader Kevin Luo took first place at the San Diego Union-Tribune Countywide Spelling Bee, becoming the second student in a row from Carmel Valley Middle School to win. His former classmate and last year's champion gave Kevin some helpful advice on study strategies. His winning word was “gradine.”

Photo credit: John Gibbens, San Diego Union-Tribune

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Sri Nemmani Wins Titanic Contest in Tennessee

Sri Nemmani, an eighth-grader at Page Middle School in Franklin, Tennessee, will represent his school and his community when he competes at the national finals. About 70 spellers from across the state gathered at the Tennessee Titans' stadium. The top two spellers advanced. Sri won the event by spelling "khedive." In addition to spelling he loves to read and play table tennis.

Photo credit: Tennessee Titans

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Lowell Torola Continues Family's Spelling Tradition

Correctly spelling the word “Vatican” made Lowell Torola, an eighth-grader at Washington Middle School in Calumet, Michigan, the winner of the Upper Peninsula Community Education Association’s Spelling Bee. He said his family is known as the "Spelling Torolas." Other family members have advanced to the national finals in the past. 

Photo credit: Christie Bleck, The Mining Journal

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Daniel Sibincic Stays Calm to Win in Indiana

It took nearly 30 rounds of competition, but Daniel Sibincic, an eighth-grader at Taft Middle School in Crown Point, Indiana, stayed calm under pressure to win the Kankakee Valley REMC Regional Spelling Bee. In his first appearance in the regional spelling competition, he correctly spelled "cambio" to win. He also competes in geography and science contests.  

Photo credit: John Luke, The Times

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Kara Willson Wins in Washington

Kara Willson, an eighth-grader from East Wenatchee, Washington, took home the top prize at the North Central Washington Regional Spelling Bee. The competition included 44 students in grades four through eight from area schools. The winning word for Kara was “recidivist.” The program is sponsored by the Washington Apple Education Foundation. 

Photo credit: Washington Apple Education Foundation
 

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Mera Moucharrafie Wins in Illinois

Mera Moucharrafie, a seventh-grader at Belvidere Central Middle School in Illinois, overcame her nerves to win the 35th annual Boone Winnebago Regional Spelling Bee. She bested 30 other spellers and won with the final two words: "apartheid" and "peccadillo." In addition to her spelling talents, she loves to run with the school's cross country and track teams.  

Photo credit: Scott P. Yates, RRStar.com

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Nathan Ostermann Wins Again in CA

Nathan Ostermann, a seventh-grader at Wilson Junior High in El Centro, California, had just returned from a science fair competition when he stepped on the stage to defend his title as Imperial County Regional champion. He did not disappoint. In the 14th round, he correctly spelled "expropriate" to win a return trip to the national finals. 

Photo credit: Imperial County Office of Education 

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Shiv Mehrotra-Varma Gets Winning Advice

Shiv Mehrotra-Varma had a strong ally helping him prepare — Ananya Vinay, the 2017 national champion. Shiv, a fifth-grader at Fugman Elementary School in Fresno, California, lives next door to his friend, and she helped him prepare for this competition. He won by spelling "einkorn." He said it was an unexpected victory, and he plans to try his best in D.C.

Photo credit: Eric Paul Zamora, The Fresno Bee

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Navneeth Murali Wins in NJ

Navneeth Murali is on to the next level of studying as he plans for his trip to the national finals. He won the 34th Annual Asbury Park Press/Home News Tribune Regional Spelling Bee in Neptune, New Jersey. The event was hosted by Monmouth University. 

Photo credit: James J. Connolly, Asbury Park Press

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Melodie Loya Wins NY Spelling Bee Again

For the second year in a row, Melodie Loya of Bainbridge, New York, won the Daily Star Regional Spelling Bee. Twenty-two spellers competed for the regional title and Melodie, a seventh-grader, clinched it in the 15th round with “frivolous.” She loves mythology and fiction books, and English is her favorite subject. 

Photo credit: Julie Lewis, Daily Star

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Vaibhavi Mahajan to Represent Mississippi

Vaibhavi Mahajan, an eighth-grader at Northwest Rankin Middle School in Flowood, Mississippi, will represent her school and her state in the national finals. About 50 students gathered at Jackson State University for the 2018 Mississippi Spelling Bee. Vaibhavi correctly spelled "expropriate" for the win. 

Photo credit: Northwest Rankin Middle School

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Rosy Kannankeril to Represent Tennessee

Rosy Kannankeril, an eighth-grader from Franklin Classical School in Franklin, Tennessee, had the impressive backdrop of the Tennessee Titans stadium for her regional spelling bee in Nashville. At this event, the top two spellers advance to the national finals. She was runner-up in the event with the winning word "stolon." This is the third regional event sponsored by the NFL team.

Photo credit: Kayla Schoen, Tennessee Titans 
 

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Saagar Dubey Has Extra Incentive to Win in MI

Lakeview Middle School eighth-grader Saagar Dubey had his eye on the prize at the MLive/Jackson Citizen Patriot Spelling Bee in Jackson, Michigan. But the prize wasn't necessarily the trophy — it was a cell phone promised by his parents, if he won. His winning words were "agave" and "Mongol." He said he's been doing this since the fifth grade and enjoys the competition.

Photo credit: J. Scott Park, Mlive.com 

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Carter Herron Trains for Victory in WV

Carter Herron, a seventh-grader at South Middle School in Morgantown, West Virginia, spelled “expropriate” and “pro rata” correctly to win the North Central West Virginia Regional Spelling Bee. His father said he had a solid training regimen to prepare for the event. Carter previously competed at the regional level in 2016. 

Photo/story credit: JoAnn Snoderly, The Exponent Telegram

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Lauren Holsapple Focuses for Win in MO

Lauren Holsapple. an eighth-grade home-schooled student eliminated distractions by closing her eyes when she spelled at the Columbia Missourian Regional Spelling Bee. After spelling "pneumonectomy" correctly she opened her eyes to see and hear the cheers from the audience. She said she finds competing "exhilarating and nauseating at the same time."

Content credit: Elena Cruz, Columbia Missourian
Photo credit: Meiying Wu, Columbia Missourian

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Mic Drop Moment for Simone Kaplan in FL

Simone Kaplan took advantage of a second opportunity to have her winning moment, complete with a mic drop, at the 78th Annual Miami Herald Spelling Bee in Broward County, Florida. Her winning word was "aioli." The sixth-grader from St. Bonaventure Catholic School has been preparing since her appearance in the national finals in 2017. 

Photo credit: Charles Trainor, Jr., Miami Herald

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Jay Schoenen Has Winning Strategy in PA

Divide and conquer was the strategy for Jay Schoenen, a seventh-grader from Gov. Mifflin Middle School in Reading, Pennsylvania. To prepare, he studied a different language of origin each night. And when he misspelled, his brother offered his own form of motivation by throwing things at him. Jay spelled "dismissive" to become champion at the 38th annual Berks County Spelling Bee.

Photo credit: Jeremy Drey, Reading Eagle

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Lucas Tardif Wins in NY

Eighth-grader Lucas Tardif from AuSable Valley Central School District in Keeseville, New York, topped a tough field to win the Champlain Valley Educational Services Regional Spelling Bee. Twelve neighboring school districts competed in the event, which was sponsored by the Press-Republican.

Photo credit:  Champlain Valley Educational Services

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Brendan Pawlicki Returns to Represent Michigan

It took 16 words for Brendan Pawlicki, a sixth-grader at St. Lawrence Elementary School in Utica, Michigan, to spell his way to a return trip to the national finals.  He won on the word, “einkorn,” a type of wheat. When standing at the microphone, he would shake his hands, appearing nervous. However, Brendan said afterward it wasn't nerves; the hand shaking was “me being happy.” 

Photo credit: David Dalton, Macomb Daily News

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Isabelle Aujla Enjoys Debut Victory

In her first year competing in spelling bees, Isabelle Aujla is having quite the rookie season. She won The Roanoke Times’ 45th Annual Regional Spelling Bee in Virginia, by correctly spelling “dignitary” and “geographer.” The seventh-grader at North Cross School was all smiles and nervous energy as she accepted a trophy and an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

Photo credit: North Cross School

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Deeya Patel Wins in Virginia

When it comes to being a championship speller, Deeya Patel is “echt.” That adjective, which means “genuine” or “authentic,” was the clinching word for the Wilbur S. Pence Middle School student as she won the 2018 Rockingham District Ruritan Regional Spelling Bee in Broadway, Virginia.

Photo credit: Daily News Record

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Joseph Chambers Wins on First VA Appearance

Joseph Chambers, an eighth-grader at Quioccasin Middle School in Richmond, Virginia, made the most of his first appearance at the 44th annual Richmond Times-Dispatch Regional Spelling Bee. He won it by correctly spelling “braunschweiger.” He said his familiarity with the origin of words — this case, German — was critical to his success. 

Photo credit: Joe Mahoney, Times-Dispatch

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Kasey Torres Enjoys Exhilarating Win in Texas

Kasey Torres, a seventh-grader at Cornerstone Christian School in San Angelo, Texas, will return to the national finals for his fourth try at the title. His knowledge of music-related words was a benefit this year, especially when it came to his winning word: "clarinet." He said the next two months of studying is hard, but he's up for the challenge. 

Photo credit: KLST News

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John Courtney Wins in Chattanooga, TN

Heritage Middle School student John Courtney won the 2018 Times Free Press Regional Spelling Bee in Chattanooga, Tennessee, by correctly spelling the word "stalactite." There were plenty of emotions in the competition as spellers reacted with delight or dismay to the judge's ruling.

Photo credit: Doug Strickland, Times Free Press

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Mark Zheng to Savor Trip to DC

Mark Zheng, an eighth-grade student from Conway Middle School in Conway, South Carolina, was willing to spend weeks studying, knowing the top prize was a trip to the nation's capital. His winning moment was correctly spelling "stalactite." He looks forward to seeing the monuments and learning more about our nation's history while in D.C.

Photo credit: Josh Bell, The Sun News

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Mackenzie Sambroak Awarded for Ohio Victory

Mackenzie Sambroak, a fifth-grader at Roosevelt Elementary School in McDonald, Ohio, was a powerful spelling force at The Vindicator’s 85th Regional Spelling Bee. Her championship word was a fitting one — “tour de force.” The trophy stood almost as tall as Mackenzie, and was appropriately sized for her accomplishment. 

Photo credit: Robert K. Yosay, Vindicator

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Pavani Chittemsetty Earns Return Trip to National Finals

Pavani Chittemsetty, a sixth-grader at Northwest Arkansas Classical Academy in Bentonville, won the Arkansas State Spelling Bee, topping 54 other students from across the state. Pavani won by correctly spelling "laterigrade." A four-time winner of her county spelling bee, Pavani previously won the Arkansas spelling bee in 2016.

Photo credit: Arkansas Democrat Gazette

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Sophia Clark Wins Baltimore Bee

Sophia Clark is headed to the Scripps National Spelling Bee after winning the Baltimore Spelling Bee regional contest at RPCS. The sixth-grader is a student at Friends School of Baltimore. 

Photo credit: Friends School of Baltimore

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Elizabeth Muller Makes Return Trip to DC

Elizabeth Muller, an eighth-grader from Cape Hatteras Secondary School in North Carolina, is ready to pack her bags and head north again for another chance at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Elizabeth spelled "silica" correctly to win the 26th annual Downeast Regional Spelling Bee. She will try to improve upon her 2017 national finals performance, when she tied for 41st place. 

Photo credit: Cape Hatteras Secondary School

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Alexandria Ciurlino Stays Focused to Win Again in NJ

After 38 rounds of nonstop spelling, Alexandria Ciurlino, an eighth-grader at St. Vincent de Paul Regional School in Mays Landing, New Jersey, won the South Jersey Regional Spelling Bee for the second year in a row. She defended her title with the winning word, “lipsync.” She said the national finals are stressful, but “the key is to not let it get to you and just have fun.”

Photo credit: Lauren Carroll, Press of Atlantic City

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Daniela Danilova Visualizes Her Way to Winning

Daniela Danilova, an eighth-grader from Lee Burneson Middle School in Westlake, Ohio, has a renewed love for spelling this year. Her obsession with words helped her win the Cuyahoga County Spelling Bee. In the 23rd round, she spelled "barukhzy" to win. English is not Daniela's first language. Her family moved to Ohio from Russia when she was 6 years old.  

Photo credit: David Petkiewicz, Cleveland.com

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Grace McKeegan Earns a Return Trip to National Finals

Grace McKeegan, a homeschooled eighth-grader from Steubenville, Ohio, is heading back to the nation's capital after winning the Jefferson-Harrison County Regional Spelling Bee. She correctly spelled "infraorder" to defend her title. In addition to reviewing the word lists for the competition, she also made a habit of writing down unfamiliar words while reading. 

Photo credit: Kristen Tuell, WTOV9

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Lyla Heising Makes Most of Her Last Chance

After more than three hours of spelling dozens of words, Lyla Heising, an eighth-grader from Pettisville Junior High School in Wauseon, Ohio, topped 50 of the region’s best spellers in the 2018 Blade Northwest Ohio Championship Spelling Bee. This was her fourth and final chance to advance from the regional event. She won with "innovative." 

Photo credit: Jetta Fraser, The Blade

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Anna Liu Earns Top Honors in Akron, OH

Anna Liu and her Hudson Middle School classmates, dominated the Akron Beacon Journal Regional Spelling Bee, taking the top three spots. Anna, a seventh-grader, had the support of her parents to help her prepare for the competition. After many food-related words, Anna won with "inevitability."

Photo credit: Karen Schiely, Beacon Journal

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Aashi Mishra Is Spectacular in NJ

Aashi Mishra, a seventh-grader from Valley View School in Watchung, New Jersey, put on quite a show of spelling prowess at the 2018 Bee Spectacular at the Somerset County Vocational and Technical School. A total of 60 students from the county, representing dozens of schools, participated.

Photo credit: Somerset County Library System

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Noah Clark Reads to Victory in NY

In preparation for the Western New York Spelling Bee, Noah Clark, a 13-year-old student at G.R.A.C.E. Leah Home School in Bergen, New York, spent every moment he could either studying words or reading more books. The effort paid off as he spelled "strategy" and "rouge" in the final rounds. His two sisters were just as proud as they were excited for the upcoming family trip to D.C. 

Photo credit: Mark Gutman, Daily News

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Charles Millard Gets Momentum in Maryland

Charles Millard, a seventh-grader from Frederick Classical Charter School in Frederick, Maryland, did not let fatigue slow down his momentum at the Frederick County Spelling Bee. In the 18th round, he correctly spelled “contemporaneous” to claim the title. He thanked his mom, a teacher and an administrator at his school for encouraging him to participate. 

Photo courtesy of The Frederick News-Post

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Abrar Nasser Wins in Kansas

The best spellers in a 26-county region surrounding Topeka, Kansas, competed in the 65th annual regional spelling bee. Abrar Nasser, an eighth-grader at Susan B. Anthony Middle School, correctly spelled "silica." The event, sponsored by the Kansas Press Association, included 250 words and lasted 27 rounds.

Photo credit: KSNT-TV

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Third Time Is the Charm for Alesya Rathinasamy

In just the fifth grade, Alesya Rathinasamy already has three years of experience competing in the WIPB-TV Regional Spelling Bee. After second and third place finishes, this year she took the top prize. The Burris Laboratory School student lasted 40 rounds against students representing 60 area schools.  

Photo credit: WIPB-TV

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Bryanna Sonntag Wins in Illinois With "Repertoire"

Genoa-Kingston Middle School eighth-grade student Bryanna Sonntag had all the right words in her study preparation, including her winning word, "repertoire." As many kids do, the DeKalb County Spelling Bee champion made some tough choices to find time for studying. Her mom said she didn’t audition for theater activities as usual, and instead studied spelling and vocabulary.

Photo credit: Mary Beth Nolan, Daily Chronicle

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Julia Grimaldo Follows Success of Sisters

Champion is once again spelled "G-r-i-m-a-l-d-o" after another rousing Inland Northwest Regional Spelling Bee in Lewiston, Idaho. Julia Grimaldo, a seventh-grader from Orofino Junior-Senior High School, repeated as the winner at the competition, which Lewis-Clark State College hosted. Julia carries on the family tradition set by her older sisters, Anna and Frances Grimaldo.

Photo credit: The Lewiston Tribune
 

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Paula Braun Is No. 1 at Iowa Spelling Bee

Her placard number turned out to be Paula Braun's final ranking — No. 1. The eighth-grader from Seton Catholic School in Peosta, Iowa, won the Telegraph Herald Spelling Bee with her final two words: "leprotic" and "silica." Her sister placed third in the competition which involved 27 students from the Dubuque area. 

Photo credit: The Telegraph Herald 

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Aritra Banerjee Wins Connecticut Spelling Bee

Aritra Banerjee, a fifth-grader at West Hill School in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, won the state spelling bee with the word "inevitability.” Aritra loves words and understands their importance. After winning, he told a local reporter, "Communication is one of the most important things in our world today.”

Photo credit: Michael McAndrews, Special to the Courant

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Etymology Helps Angelina Holm Win in Denver

Angelina Holm, a sixth-grader from the Denver School of the Arts, trusted her knowledge of etymology to help her win the 78th Denver Post Colorado State Spelling Bee. The tournament went 40 rounds and the winning word was "helminthiasis." Angelina's strategy — “I just try to break down where a word comes from and how it is used.” 

Photo credit: Daniel Brenner, Special to The Denver Post

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Erin Howard Wins Third Trip to National Finals

Erin Howard, a seventh-grader at Mountain Gap School in Huntsville, Alabama, is making her third trip to the national finals. She won the 91st Annual Alabama Spelling Bee, sponsored by Adventure Travel. She is such a believer in the benefits of the program that she presented information to the school board encouraging more students to participate. 

Photo credit: Alabama Spelling Bee

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Jonnen Messer Wins European PTA Spelling Bee

Jonnen Messer withstood a grueling four-hour contest with 38 rounds of words to win the 35th annual European PTA Spelling Bee. His last two winning words were "stalactite" and "Istanbul." The fifth-grader at Ramstein Intermediate School at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, surprised himself in earlier rounds by correctly spelling some tricky words. 

Photo credit: Jennifer H. Svan, Stars and Stripes 

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Simran Patibanda Returns to National Finals

Simran Patibanda, an eighth-grader from Graham Park Middle School in Triangle, Virginia, is headed to the Scripps National Spelling Bee for the second time in three years. After finishing as runner-up last year, she worked hard to regain the top spot. She spelled “inter alia” to seal her victory at the 40th annual Prince William Regional Spelling Bee.

Photo credit: Paul Lara, InsideNova.com

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Cadi Corn to Make Long Trip From Oregon to DC

In Malheur County, Oregon, there is one top speller: Cadi Corn, a fifth-grader from Nyssa Elementary School. She was crowned winner over fellow students in grades one through eight after she correctly spelled "engulf." She won the trip to the national finals in addition to other prizes.

Photo credit: Larry Meyer, The Argus Observer

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Nicolas Llorente to Represent White Plains, NY

While wearing an event shirt with the slogan, "Bee Your Best Self," seventh-grader Nicolas Llorente was the best among his fellow spellers in the Greenburgh Central School District in White Plains, New York. This year, 24 students from Richard J. Bailey School and Woodlands Middle School competed for the trip to Washington, D.C. 

Photo credit: Greenburgh Central School District

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Michael Goss Wins Trio of Titles in Louisiana

Michael Goss, a student at St. Michael Catholic School in Crowley, Louisiana, will travel to Washington, D.C., for the third time this May after winning the Kiwanis Club of Lafayette/Arcadiana Spelling Bee. His winning word was "etymology."

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Saachi Sharma Wins in Jacksonville, FL

Saachi Sharma, an eighth-grader from Duval County schools was crowned regional champion at the 74th annual First Coast Spelling Bee in Jacksonville, Florida. New sponsors, Jacksonville Sports Council and WJXT-TV, partnered for the event. Saachi correctly spelled "methodically" to win the title and advance to the national finals. 

Photo credit: WJXT-TV News 4

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Gabriel Ennin Advances for Third Time

It is a different school for Gabriel Ennin this year, but the outcome is the same for the spelling bee veteran. The eighth-grader won the Will County Regional Spelling Bee by besting 46 other competitors. This time, he will represent Heritage Grove Middle School in Plainfield, Illinois, at his third national finals.

Photo credit: The Herald-News

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Michael Sun "Joyous" in His Victory in American Samoa

Michael Sun, an eighth-grader from South Pacific Academy in Tafuna, American Samoa, won after a suspenseful competition at the 24th Annual Samoa News Territorial Spelling Bee. He correctly spelled "joyous" to win the top prize of a trip to the national finals. The contest involved 31 students and lasted 24 rounds. 

Photo credit:  Leua Aiono Frost, Samoa News

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Henry Iverson Wins in Utah at First Regional Appearance

Henry Iverson, a sixth-grader from Rocky Mountain Middle School in Heber City, Utah, made an appropriate "Boy Genius" shirt selection for his winning performance at The Park Record Spelling Bee. Even after spelling "poinsettia" correctly, he said he was still surprised to win over 41 other spellers from the area.

Photo credit: Tanzi Propst, Park Record

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Preparation Is Key for Ranitha Kumarasinghe

Ranitha Kumarasinghe, a sixth-grader from Orange Grove Charter Middle School in Charleston, South Carolina, raised his arms in triumph when he spelled his winning word, "topeng," with confidence. He credits nightly study sessions with his parents in helping him win the SpellBound Regional Spelling Bee, sponsored by The Post and Courier.

Photo credit: Grace Beahm Alford, The Post and Courier

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Matthew Dufour Has Dawg Pound Support

Matthew Dufour, a fifth-grader at Superior Intermediate School in Ashtabula, Ohio, won the Browns Give Back Tri-County Spelling Bee in Cleveland. Matthew will represent Geauga, Lake and Ashtabula counties at the national finals. The Cleveland Browns organization joins the Tennessee Titans as the two NFL teams supporting local spelling bee programs. 

Photo credit: Browns Give Back 

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Youngest Estep Advances to National Finals

Nathan Estep is the youngest in his family of talented spellers. His win at the regional spelling bee in Winchester, Virginia, makes it five Estep siblings to earn nine total trips to the national finals. He is in the eighth grade and his home-schooled. The regional event is sponsored by the Kids Clubs of Northern Shenandoah Valley.

Photo credit: The Winchester Star

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Justus Black Continues Family's Winning Tradition

By winning the Columbiana County Spelling Bee in Lisbon, Ohio, Justus Black, a sixth-grader from Southern Local Schools, became the fourth member of his family to advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. He outlasted his older brother, Silas, who was in the national finals last year. Justus wore his lucky T-shirt on his first try at the regional event, which he won with "rhetoric."

Photo credit: Patti Schaeffer, Salem News

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Robert Gorlach Wins at First NC Regional Appearance

Robert Gorlach, an eighth-grade student at Piedmont Community Charter School in Gastonia, North Carolina, won The Gaston Gazette Spelling Bee on his first appearance at the regional level. He clinched the title with two consecutive words: “intensify” and “broaches.” He prepared by reviewing words with his father over the past several months. 

Photo credit: John Clark, The Gaston Gazette

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Chloe Holoman to Represent Central Minnesota

Chloe Holoman, an eighth-grader from Royalton, Minnesota, is the first from her school to win the Lakes Spelling Bee. She admits her toughest word was "persistent," but her championship word was "einkorn.” There were 30 participants in the Central Minnesota competition, and Chloe won in the 10th round.

Photo credit: National Joint Powers Alliance

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Brooke Danz Beats Cold and Dictionary

Brooke Danz, a fifth-grader from Riverwood Elementary School in McHenry, Illinois, battled both a bad cold and challenging words to become the McHenry County Spelling Bee champion. Brooke zipped through 31 rounds and finally spelled "topeng" to win the title and a trip to the national finals.

Photo credit: Matthew Apgar, Northwest Herald

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Samhita Kumar Earns Repeat Trip to DC

Samhita Kumar, a seventh-grader from Winston Churchill Middle School in Carmichael, California, correctly spelled "osphresis" to earn a repeat trip to Washington, D.C., where she will once again try to advance to the Finals. She is the two-time champion of the California Central Valley Spelling Bee, sponsored by The Sacramento Bee newspaper. 

Photo credit: Renee C. Byer, The Sacramento Bee

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Iann Leigh Has Plenty to Brag About with Maine Win

Iann Leigh, an eighth-grader at James F. Doughty School in Bangor, Maine, remained humble even though his winning word at the Penobscot County Spelling Bee was “braggadocio.” He said he was excited to win and earn a trip to the national finals. He competed with 34 other spellers in the four-hour-long contest at Husson University. 

Photo credit: Husson University

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Brady Hughes Wins in Cass County, Missouri

Brady Hughes is the Cass County Spelling Bee champion. Brady is a sixth-grader in the Pleasant Hill School District. After 12 rounds of words, he spelled “lithe” to win. He has luck on his side, coming from Peculiar, Missouri, where the town motto is, "Where the 'odds' are with you."

Photo credit: Raymore-Peculiar School District 

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Vasundara Govindarajan Wins Fourth Time in Florida

Vasundara Govindarajan, an eighth-grader at Frank C. Martin International K-8 Center in southwest Miami-Dade, Florida, is enjoying her fourth consecutive win in the Miami-Dade Bee. This year, she won in the 12th round, with “escadrille.” She says she's read the dictionary cover to cover. She was inspired by her brother, who competed twice in the national finals. 

Photo credit: Pedro Portal, Miami Herald

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Jashun Paluru Makes it a Trio of Indiana Titles

Jashun Paluru of Battle Ground Middle School in West Lafayette, Indiana, won his third straight title when he correctly spelled "portulaca" in the finals of the Administrator Assistance regional bee. The eighth-grader was a strong competitor in his first two appearances on the national stage, finishing 10th in 2016 and 12th in 2017. 

Photo credit: Mark Bowen, Scripps National Spelling Bee

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Alan Chavez Wins Inaugural East Texas Bee

Alan Chavez, an eighth-grader at Tatum Middle School will always have the honor of being the first to win the inaugural East Texas Spelling Bee sponsored by The Light and Champion. He received only cheers for his winning word: “condolences.” There were 22 total spellers in the verbal finale. 

Photo credit: The Light and Champion
 

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Atman Balakrishnan Follows Father's Footsteps

Atman Balakrishnan, a sixth-grader at Hinsdale Middle School, has the support of his parents and a study buddy in his little brother to encourage him as he heads to the national finals. The Chicago student won the DuPage County competition by correctly spelling "portulaca." His father, Dr. Balu Natarajan, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 1985. 

Photo credit: DuPage County Regional Office of Education

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Isabella Pinto Wins Crown and Scholarship Pledge

After 23 rounds and nearly 200 words, Bristol High School eighth-grader Isabella Pinto was crowned the top speller at the 27th annual Tribune Chronicle Spelling Bee when she correctly spelled “witloof.” Kent State University at Trumbull served as the host, and pledged scholarship money to the top performing finalists.

Photo credit: Tribune Chronicle

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Emily Fouts Ready to Venture Outside of Idaho

Emily Fouts, an eighth-grader at Vera C. O’Leary Middle School in Twin Falls, Idaho, is ready for her grand adventure to the nation's capital. She won the fourth annual Times-News regional spelling bee when she spelled “isinglass.” It was a word she knew well thanks to plenty of preparation. It will be her first trip outside of her state. 

Photo credit: Alison Gene Smith, Times-News/magicvalley.com

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Sydney Cho Becomes California Champ

In Kern County, California, the spelling bee program reached more than 60,000 students and narrowed down to just one — Sydney Cho, a 13-year-old from Norris Middle School. After nearly four hours of fierce competition, Sydney spelled "polities" correctly to win a trip to the national finals, courtesy of the program's sponsor, KERO Channel 23. 

Photo credit: KERO 23 ABC News

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Paul Hamrick Keeps Monterey, CA Title

Paul Hamrick admitted that this year's Countywide Spelling Bee in Monterey, California, was more difficult than his win in 2017. With the most students competing, the 23-round event was the competition's longest. Paul, an eighth-grade homeschool student, correctly spelled "controversy" to earn a return trip to the national finals.

Photo credit: Vernon McKnight, The Californian

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It's a Dream Come True for Delaney Mitchell

In her busy schedule, somehow Delaney Mitchell found time to study for the Gazette-Mail Regional Spelling Bee in Charleston, West Virginia. The eighth-grader from Beckley-Stratton Middle School has been dreaming of making it to the national finals since the fourth grade. In addition to being a spelling champ, she is editor of the school newspaper and co-captain of the cross country team. 

Photo credit: Charleston Gazette-Mail

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Finn Irving is Heading for the National Stage

Augusta County seventh-grader Finn Irving has watched the Scripps National Spelling Bee on TV for years, and never thought he would be on that stage. After spelling "rendezvous," he earned the trip to D.C. as the winner of The Daily Progress Regional Spelling Bee in Charlottesville, Virginia. Finn also likes playing baseball and basketball, and enjoys a good book.

Photo credit: Jacob Chang-Rascle, The Daily Progress

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Veena Namboodiri Studied Hard for Texas Win

Veena Namboodiri, eighth-grader at South Texas Preparatory Academy in Edinburg, Texas, calmly asked her questions for her championship word, "transmittal." After scribbling the letters on the table, she spelled it correctly to the judges to win the Rio Grande Valley 30th Annual Regional Spelling Bee. She said her sister was a big help in studying every night. 

Photo credit: Valley Morning Star

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Jeff Zheng Wins Again in Amarillo, TX

Jeff Zheng, a student at Ascension Academy in Amarillo, Texas, is returning to the national finals after a hotly contested regional bee sponsored by the Amarillo Globe-News. Only 15 students were in the final competition and they went through 196 words and lasted 46 rounds. Jeff won by correctly spelling "attachment." 

Photo credit: Amarillo Globe-News

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Third Time is the Charm for Connor Bevan in Tennessee

On his third try in a regional bee, Connor Bevan ended the West Tennessee Regional Spelling Bee the way he hoped — as champion. The Lakewood Middle School student took deep breaths to calm his nerves before each word including his winning one, "pilferage." The regional competition in Jackson, Tennessee, is sponsored by Union University,

Photo credit: Morgan Timms, The Jackson Sun

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Swathi Menon Crowned Queen Bee in Evansville, IN

After 24 rounds and over 200 words, Perry Heights Middle School student Swathi Menon was crowned the Tri-State Spelling Bee champion in Evansville, Indiana. She says taking part in the event last year helped her prepare to win this year. She said, "Just like the adrenaline and the rush of energy, it's great; I'm really excited." 

Photo credit: WFIE 14 News

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Winston Zuo Repeats as Orange Co., CA Winner

It was a head-to-head battle for 21 rounds before eighth-grader ​Winston Zuo claimed the 55th annual Orange County Spelling Bee title in California. With it, the Fairmont Private Schools student will return to the national finals for the second time. He spelled "teff" correctly and after the competition said, “It’s a really euphoric feeling.” 

Photo credit: Orange County Department of Education

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Langley Vernon Repeats as SC Winner

Langley Vernon, an eighth-grader from Riverside Middle School in Pendleton, South Carolina, will once again represent her community after winning the regional event. She won a return trip to the national finals in the 18th round when she correctly spelled "gopak." 

Photo credit:  Ken Ruinard, Independent Mail

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Madison Fickinger Shines in Pennsylvania Bee

Madison Fickinger didn't really enjoy the attention on stage during The Republican-Herald’s 63rd annual bee, but she didn't let that stop her from winning. The Williams Valley Elementary sixth-grader proved the best of 48 spellers from the Pottsville, Pennsylvania, area when she spelled “marinade.” 

Photo credit: David McKeown, The Republican Herald

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Shawn Terrado Finds her Rhythm for OK Victory

Two letters and then a pause proved to be the winning tempo for Shawn Terrado as she won the Central Oklahoma Bee, sponsored by The Oklahoman. The Elgin Middle School student had to outspell 39 others through 26 rounds before getting her championship word — “unsuitable.”

Photo credit: The Oklahoman

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Snehal Choudhury Thrilled by Spelling

Snehal Choudhury, an eighth-grader from Jackson Memorial Middle School in Massillon, Ohio, won the 72nd Canton Repository Regional Bee with "sociable." She described the feeling that probably resonates with many spellers — “I was nervous because I didn’t know what word I was going to get, but you get this thrill just doing it.”

Photo credit: Julie Vennitti, Canton Repository

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Sophia Nguyen Wins in Missouri

After watching her sister win for two years, this was Sophia Nguyen's time to shine at the Northwest Missouri Regional bee. Sophia, a seventh-grader at Bode Middle School, won in the 32nd round with "secrete." She really loves spelling and has a natural talent for it. 

Photo credit: St. Joseph News-Press

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Sukesh Kamesh Achieves Goal of Winning

Since the third grade, Sukesh Kamesh was a familiar face at the Sunflower Spelling Bee in Wichita, Kansas, until last year when he didn't qualify. That was the motivation he needed to set a new goal for winning the regional bee in 2018. The seventh-grader from Kingman Elementary/Middle School did just that when he spelled "carboniferous" in a 27-round match. 

Photo credit: Kayley Conner, The Hays Daily News

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Jake Gordy Celebrates Maryland Win

Jake Gordy, a seventh-grader at Somerset Intermediate School in Westover, Maryland, lasted through 26 rounds of words to finally win with "morality" at the Maryland Eastern Shore Regional Spelling Bee. He placed third last year and was motivated to study to get another chance at winning. His mom said he's a voracious reader. 

Photo credit: University of Maryland Eastern Shore 

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Hanna Yoshida to Represent Japan

Hanna Yoshida, of K. International School Tokyo, took advantage of a second opportunity to win the ninth Japan Times Bee. The 14-year-old correctly spelled her championship word, "insubordinate." She credits studying the origin of words and lots of reading for helping her prepare for the competition. 

Photo credit: Satoko Kawasaki, The Japan Times

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Three-peat Victory for Una VanWynsberghe

Una VanWynsberghe overcame a misspelling in the final rounds of the 64th annual Journal Gazette Regional Spelling Bee in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, to come back and win for the third time. The eighth-grader from Lincolnview Junior-Senior High School in Van Wert, Ohio, missed on a championship word. On her second chance in a later round, she did not miss with "satyagraha." 

Photo credit: Rachel Von, The Journal Gazette

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Adrian James Beltran Wins 46th Bee in Guam

In his first island-wide spelling competition Adrian James Beltran, did not expect to win, but he surprised himself by correctly spelling, "indentation." The seventh-grader from F.B. Leon Guerrero Middle School in Guam won the 46th annual Regional Spelling Bee, sponsored by Pacific Daily News. He is looking forward to coming to the mainland with his mom. 

Photo credit: Rick Cruz, Pacific Daily News

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Educated Guess Wins for Maanvi Sarwadi

After placing third last year, Maanvi Sarwadi, a seventh-grader from Caravel Academy, was determined to win the Delaware spelling bee this year. After more than five hours and 28 rounds, she used her knowledge of rules for Greek words where "y" is used for the "i" sound to correctly spell "phyton." 

Photo credit: Josephine Peterson, The News Journal Wilmington, Delaware

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Daniel Doudna Repeats as Winner in Alaska

Eighth-grader Daniel Doudna earned a return trip to the national finals and is carrying on the family tradition. The home-school student spelled “pistachio” to win the 25th annual Interior Alaska Spelling Bee in Fairbanks, Alaska. He won the competition last year, and his two sisters previously won in 2005 and 2015.

Photo credit: Dorothy Chomicz, Daily News-Miner

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Gauri Vashisht Credits Mom for Helping her Prepare

Gauri Vashisht, a sixth-grader at West Ridge Middle School, said she couldn't have won without her mom's help with studying. She spelled "attenuate" in Round 31 to win the Origin Bank All-Parish Spelling Bee in Monroe, Louisiana. She studied hard in hopes of finishing well, but winning was not her priority. 

Photo credit: Jeanette Slayter, The News-Star
 

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Liam Nyikos Earns Third Trip to National Finals

Liam Nyikos, an eighth-grader at Carlsbad Intermediate School in Carlsbad, New Mexico, hoisted his trophy proudly after winning for the third time in four years. He won the El Paso Times spelling bee by correctly spelling "systematically." His talents range beyond spelling. He's competing in a regional science fair, too. 

Photo credit: Ruben R. Ramirez, El Paso Times

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Sai Lakkimsetti Wins in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Sai Lakkimsetti was runner-up last year to the youngest national finals competitor ever, Edith Fuller. This year, Sai is the one advancing to D.C. The 9-year-old from Southeast Elementary in Jenks, Oklahoma, spelled "bottine" correctly in the Green Country regional bee competition that lasted more than five hours and involved over 300 words. 

Photo credit: KJRH-TV 2 Works for You

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Delaney Nash is Going from KC to DC

Fifth-grader Delaney Nash from Union Chapel Elementary in Kansas City, Missouri, is ready for a whirlwind adventure to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She won the Park Hill School District spelling bee. The district invites students to take a computerized spelling test. The top 60 advanced to the district spelling bee, and Delaney spelled her way to the top. 

Photo credit: Park Hill School District

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Anoushka Upadhye Returns for Victory in Virginia

After a marathon battle of four hours and 22 rounds, Anoushka Upadhye, an eighth-grader from Stone Hill Middle School in Ashburn, Virginia, was crowned champion of the Loudoun County spelling bee. She was runner-up last year, so she committed herself to winning it all this year. Her championship word was “cinematheque.”

Photo credit: Patrick Szabo, Loudoun Now

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Hephzibah Sujoe Continues Family Tradition

Hephzibah Sujoe, a sixth-grader from Bethesda Christian School in Fort Worth, Texas, is following in her brother's footsteps. She correctly spelled "tenebrism" in the 16th round to earn a trip to D.C. in the College of Education at Texas Christian University regional bee. Ansun Sujoe was a co-champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2014.

Photo credit: TCU, College of Education

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Sadie Storm Wins in Maryland

After being runner-up in last year's Calvert County Spelling Bee in Maryland, Sadie Storm was determined to work diligently for another shot at the title. Her hard work paid off as the eighth-grader from Plum Point Middle School won this time and now advances to compete in the national finals in Washington, D.C. Sadie is in the center of the photo. 

Photo credit: Calvert County Public Schools

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Aisha Randhawa is Three-peater in California

Aisha Randhawa made it three in a row with her victory at the Riverside County Spelling Bee. The seventh-grader at Auburndale Intermediate School in Corona correctly spelled “bulbul” in round 29 of a three-hour-plus bee. She is only the third person in the 41-year history of the local program to win the event three times. The sponsor is The Press-Enterprise. 

Photo credit:  The Press-Enterprise

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Addison Champion has Winning Name and Performance

For Addison Champion, her name is also her title: she's the champ of the Cleveland County spelling bee in Shelby, North Carolina. The Springmore Elementary School fourth-grader competed for the first time this year, and beat out 21 fellow competitors with the word “ductile.” The Shelby Star and Newspapers in Education sponsor the program.

Photo credit: Brittany Randolph, The Shelby Star

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"Relentless" Pursuit by Joel Chandler in Michigan

Joel Chandler's championship word, "relentless," was rather appropriate for his performance in the Cloverleaf Spelling Competition in St. Joseph, Michigan. The eighth-grader at Grace Christian School said being a visual learner helped him to prepare for the final competition involving 47 other spellers. The Herald Palladium is the sponsor and coordinator of the two-county regional spelling bee. 

Photo credit: Tony Wittkowski, The Herald Palladium

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Ava Becken Wins for Southeast Minnesota

Ava Becken, an eighth-grader from Northfield Public Schools in Northfield, Minnesota, will represent 37 districts in her state after winning her final local bee by correctly spelling "triturate." The competition and program is sponsored by the Southeast Service Cooperative.

Photo credit: Southeast Service Cooperative

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Surabi Shanmugam Wins in Pennsylvania

Surabi Shanmugam first tackled the 100 question spelling and vocabulary test in the WITF Central Pennsylvania Spelling Bee. After qualifying for the onstage spelling, the seventh-grader from Eagle View Middle School went 21 rounds with 33 fellow spellers to win on "abseil." In addition to spelling, she enjoys art, music, science and reading.  

Photo credit: WITF

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Isabel Messina has no Fear of "Fomorian"

Isabel Messina stared down her word, "fomorian,” a mythical Irish monster, and slayed it to win the Anne Arundel County Public Schools spelling bee in Annapolis, Maryland. The eighth-grader from Wiley H. Bates Middle School competed against 24 other spellers in the 30th annual competition, a partnership of the schools and the 21st Century Education Foundation.

Photo credit: Capital Gazette

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Neha Mothilal Wins in 19 Rounds

Neha Mothilal, a fifth-grader from Buchanan Elementary in East Baton Rouge parish in Louisiana, proved that age did not have to determine the outcome of the Louisiana Children's Discovery Center regional bee. She won in 19 rounds when she spelled "tendency." 

Photo credit: Louisiana Children's Discovery Center

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Olivia Schwab Earns "Relevant" Win

Olivia Schwab, a sixth-grader from Murphy Junior High in Plainfield, Illinois, will proudly represent her school and her community in the national finals. She correctly spelled "relevant" to win the top prize of a trip to Washington, D.C., provided by sponsor, Grundy/Kendall County Regional Office of Education. 

Photo credit: wcsjnews.com

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Srikar Chamarthi is Perfect in Champion Performance

Srikar Chamarthi, an eighth-grader at Abell Junior High, in Midland, Texas, set a new record by winning his third Midland Reporter-Telegram Regional Spelling Bee. He spelled all his words correctly through 19 rounds including the last two, “effervescently” and “tyrannous.”

Photo credit: James Durbin, Midland Reporter-Telegram 

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Mattie Cull to Represent Canada

Eighth-grader Mattie Cull became a two-time champion of The Telegram Spelling Bee, in Newfoundland and Labrador province in Canada, after winning with "induction." The Cloud River Academy student also won in 2016 and worked hard to return this year. 

Photo credit: Sam McNeish, The Telegram

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Amanda Medina Wins New Hampshire Bee

Eighth-grader Amanda Medina credits reading and online spelling quiz games for her victory in the New Hampshire Union Leader spelling bee. The winning word was “caodaism." In addition to her spelling prowess, the Portsmouth Christian Academy student plays violin with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Photo credit: Elizabeth Frantz, Concord Monitor

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Nothing "Frivolous" About Joseph Benson's Win in Missouri

After 30 rounds, Joseph Benson spelled his way to another trip to Washington, D.C. The eighth-grader correctly spelled "frivolous" to win the Jackson-Clay County Spelling Bee in Missouri. The competition was made possible by the support of the Mid-Continent and Kansas City public libraries. 

Photo credit: Jackson-Clay County Spelling Bee

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Helena Thompson Repeats as Harnett Co., NC Winner

Helena Thompson has earned a return trip to the national finals after winning, for the second year in a row, the Harnett County Spelling Bee in Lillington, North Carolina. The eighth-grader from Highland Middle School correctly spelled "perennial" and "rhetoric" to win.  

Photo credit: Tom Woerner, Daily Record 

 

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Briana Joseph Wins for Fairmont, MN

Briana Joseph, an eighth-grader from Fairmont, got an assist from her own hand as she spelled out her winning word — "gopak" —to win the South Central Service Cooperative in Minnesota. She competed with 41 other spellers in the event that lasted nine rounds. 

Photo credit: Jackson Forderer, Mankato Free Press

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Calvin Franke Earns a Spot in National Finals

It took 21 rounds for Calvin Franke, a seventh-grader from Plum Grove Junior High School in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, to earn a championship title and a trip to Washington, D.C. He won the 8th ISC Regional Championship, sponsored by Commonwealth Edison, with "ethology."

Photo credit: Community Consolidated School District 15

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A four-peater — Rebekah Zeigler reigns in Illinois

It was a record-setting performance for seventh-grader Rebekah Zeigler — her fourth spelling championship at the Lee-Ogle-Whiteside Regional Spelling Bee, sponsored by Sauk Valley Media, in Dixon, Illinois. The Aplington Middle School student had tough competition including her younger brother, Gabe, who finished third. She won with "vamplate."

Photo credit: Michael Krabbenhoeft, Sauk Valley Media

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Jaskarn Singh Turns Fun into Victory in Visalia, CA

It was more than six hours of spelling drama before Jaskarn Singh, an eighth-grader at Alpine Vista School in Visalia, California, got his championship word — a word he knew — "vamplate." He decided to give spelling a try because he thought it would be fun. After many late nights of studying, he told the Visalia Times-Delta, "I feel like I’ve done something that not a lot of people have done.” 

Photo credit: Ron Holman, Visalia Times-Delta

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Priceless Reaction as Daniel Healy Wins in Illinois

Daniel Healy put his hands to his face in amazement after winning the 38th Annual Dispatch-Argus Regional Spelling Bee in Rock Island, Illinois. The 12-year-old had to out-spell 54 other competitors to earn a return trip to the national finals. 

Photo credit: Meg McLaughlin, The Dispatch-Argus

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Sophia Grierson Wins in Ludington, MI

Sophia Grierson wore the medal around her neck proudly after winning the Ludington Daily News Community Spelling Bee in Ludington, Michigan. She is a student at Ludington Area Catholic School. She won in the 10th round by correctly spelling "sukiyaki." She was on stage with 53 other top spellers, including her younger sister.

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Ainsley Boucher Wins Again in Minnesota

Ainsley Boucher of Crookston, Minnesota, has earned a return trip to the national finals after winning the Minnesota spelling bee. The eighth-grader from Crookston High School spelled “irides” correctly. In addition to her spelling talents, she plays the violin and alto saxophone.

Photo credit: Crookston Times

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Caroline Otto Thanks Parents for Support

Caroline Otto, 13, of Baileyville, Illinois, credited her parents for help in preparing for the 36th annual regional bee at Pearl City Schools. She is homeschooled by her mom, and her dad helped quiz her every night on her spelling. She won in the 19th round with "dyslexia." 

Photo credit: Jane Lethlean/The Journal-Standard

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Dream Comes True for Pragya Choudhary in Detroit

Pragya Choudhary says she's been dreaming of this winning moment for several years. The eighth-grader from Canton Charter Academy in Detroit was thrilled when she spelled "portcullis" correctly. The competition was sponsored by WXYZ-TV Channel 7, a Scripps station. 

Photo credit: WXYZ-TV Channel 7
 

 

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Reading is the Key for Eva Vega Win

Eva Vega, an eighth-grader at Marvin Ridge Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina, credits her reading for helping her to be a great speller. After a one-year hiatus, she is returning to the national finals with her winning word — “stramineous.” She tracks the Bee's "word of the week" on Instagram to help with preparation too.

Photo credit: John D. Simmons, The Charlotte Observer

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Caleb Xiao Celebrates Winning Moment in Spartanburg, SC

Caleb Xiao raisesd his arms in triumph after spelling "Alhambra" to win the 14th annual USC Upstate Regional Spelling Bee in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The Spartanburg Day School seventh-grader was one of 18 students who competed for three hours to determine a winner.

Photo credit: Tim Kimzey, Spartanburg Herald-Journal 

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Michael Volkov Capitalizes on Second Chance

Michael Volkov was eliminated from the Virginian-Pilot spelling bee until another speller's misspelling gave him a second chance. He didn't waste it. He correctly spelled "loculus" to win the Virginia Beach area spelling bee. The 12-year-old from Princess Anne Middle School competed against 58 others in the competition covered by local TV station, WHRO.

Photo credit: Steve Early, Virginian-Pilot

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Patrick McCarthy Prepared to Win in Hagerstown, MD

Patrick McCarthy dedicated himself to studying in the past year after finishing third last year in the Washington County spelling bee in Hagerstown, Maryland. The Western Heights Middle School eighth-grader was thrilled when he heard the familiar "vamplate" as his champion word. This was the 39th year for the competition sponsored by Herald-Mail Media. 

Photo credit: Joe Crocetta, Herald-Mail Media

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Christopher Hays Wins in Tallahassee, FL

In quick fashion Trinity Catholic School eighth-grader Christopher Hays won the Tallahassee Democrat Big Bend regional spelling bee in just seven rounds against other students from the area. His championship word was "huckster." He will be busy this spring as he prepares for the national finals along with his work for the school musical, Latin club and Brain Bowl. 

Photo credit: Ashley White, Tallahassee Democrat

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Harini Logan Wins in San Antonio, TX

Preparation paid off for Harini Logan, a fourth-grader at the Montessori School of San Antonio, Texas, when she spelled "vicontiel" and "potto" to win the 65th edition of the San Antonio Express-News Spelling Bee. She had previously studied both words, but was still a bit shocked when she realized she was advancing to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. 

Photo credit: Tom Reel, San Antonio Express-News

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Kendal Win Goes 53 Rounds for Victory

Kendal Win, an eighth-grader at Pine Forest Middle School in Fayetteville, North Carolina, endured a marathon battle of 53 rounds to earn a repeat trip to the national finals. Kendal, for whom English is a second language, won with "scherzo." The Fayetteville Observer and the Cumberland County Public Library sponsored the event.

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Persistence Pays Off for Emily Winkler in Maryland

After placing second in last year's Bee, eighth grader Emily Winkler, from Milton M. Somers Middle School in La Plata, Maryland, was determined to try again. Her persistence paid off as she won by spelling "Rembrandt." Winkler is one of many who likes to spell out the word on her hand before speaking into the microphone. 

Photo credit: Charles County Public Schools

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Nathan Barnes Wins Again in Wilson, NC

Nathan Barnes was as cool as his Pink Floyd t-shirt during the Wilson Times spelling bee in Wilson, North Carolina. The 14-year-old, who is homeschooled, will make a return trip to D.C. after winning with "efficacy." He said he plans to study up on prefixes and suffixes in preparation for the national finals.

Photo credit: Drew C. Wilson | The Wilson Times

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Paarth Tara Gets Second Chance With Bee Win

Paarth Tara plans to enjoy his second and last chance at the national finals. The eighth-grader from Woodlawn Middle School won with “protuberance.” This was the 25th Times-News Spelling Bee in Burlington, North Carolina. Tara says he plans to fit a little more fun into this year's trip to Washington, D.C. 

Photo credit: Steven Mantilla/Times-News

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Ryana Sarcar Wins 36th Albany, NY Bee

It was a full day of spelling for Ryana Sarcar, an eighth-grader from Niskayuna school district in Schenectady, New York. After advancing through the written test, she spelled into the evening along with more than 100 other regional finalists. She finally won with "plenary." 

Photo credit: Lori Van Buren, Albany Times Union

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Daniel Larsen Repeats as IU Bee Winner

Daniel Larsen enjoyed last year's national finals so much, he was motivated to repeat as champion of the Indiana University Bee in Bloomington, Indiana. He wore his favorite lucky shirt as he correctly spelled "peccadillo" and "recidivist" to win the regional event and advance to D.C. The regional sponsor is IU's Media School and School of Education. 

Photo credit: Jonathan Streetman, The Herald Times

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Brian Kenny Wins Syracuse, NY Bee

Brian Kenny, an Onondaga Hill Middle School eighth-grader, is following in his sister's footsteps after he won the 2018 Post-Standard | WCNY | Syracuse.com Spelling Bee. It was a marathon battle lasting more than 30 rounds before he correctly spelled "prosciutto" to win. 

Photo credit: syracuse.com | The Post-Standard – Mike Greenlar 

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Ryan Himmelsbach Earns Return Trip to D.C.

Ryan Himmelsbach, a 13-year-old from Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School in the Three Village school district in East Setauket, New York, is returning to the national finals after winning the Hofstra University regional bee. He was thrilled to not hear the ring of the bell when he correctly spelled “teleost.”

Photo credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz, Newsday
 

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Bao Pham Wins Boulder, CO Bee

Fifth-grader Bao Pham from Birch Elementary School in Broomfield, Colorado, won the Barnes & Noble Spelling Bee by correctly spelling "pyroclastic." Editorial note: Bao and his fellow spellers get an additional round of applause from us for their fantastic Bee competition t-shirts.

Photo credit: Cliff Grassmick, Daily Camera

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Jordi De Jong Wins Chester County Bee in PA

Jordi De Jong, a student at Villa Maria Academy, did not waste her second chance opportunity to win the Chester County Spelling Bee, sponsored by the Chester County Intermediate Unit. She correctly spelled preposterous and vamplate to win the title. 

Photo credit: Chester County Intermediate Unit

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Nicole Patrao Wins Olathe, KS Bee

Nicole Patrao is the winner of the 2018 Olathe Spelling Bee. She is an eighth-grader at Chisholm Trail Middle School. The Kansas City Star is the sponsor for that region. She offered up helpful advice — “The key is always to ask for as much information as you can, even if you know the word.” 

Photo credit: Olathe Public Schools

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Nathaniel Stone Wins Jamaica Bee

The third time was the charm for Nathaniel Stone to win the Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee in Jamaica. The 11-year-old from Glenmuir High School correctly spelled "orotund" to take the title. He credits his mother for inspiring him to continue spelling and to achieve. 

Photo credit: Ian Allen, The Gleaner

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Abby Zheng Wins in South Carolina

Eighth-grader Abby Zheng of Johnsonville Middle School had the sweetest reaction to winning her regional bee in Florence, South Carolina. She won with her correct spelling of “sukiyaki.” The Pee Dee Education Center was the title host and had added support from the Florence County Bar Association and Francis Marion University.

Photo credit: Harrison Smith, Morning News

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Lannien Dunn Powers Through Utah Bee

After 21 rounds, Lannien Dunn, a fifth-grade student from Bear River Charter School, was crowned champion after properly spelling “turbines.” This was the first unified regional bee for several charter schools in northern Utah. 

Photo credit: Eli Lucero, The Herald Journal

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First Timer Wins Ghana Spelling Bee

A 12-year-old first-time contestant rose above 196 others to emerge as the winner of the 2018 National Spelling Bee held in Ghana. Shifa Amankwa-Gabbey from Nagie’s Angels Educational Centre burst into tears when she correctly spelled the championship word, "wamara." The Young Educators Foundation organizes the local event with the support of several sponsors. 

Photo credit: citifmonline.com/Ghana

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Sania Naik Wins NJ's Hudson County Bee

Sania Naik, an eighth-grader at Academy I Middle School in Jersey City, New Jersey, won the 59th annual Jersey Journal-Hudson County Spelling Bee, presented by AAA, by correctly spelling "vamplate." It's a skill that runs in the family, Sania's sister, Nisha, participated in the national finals in 2006.  

Photo credit: Nicholas Zeitlinger, The Jersey Journal 

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Linh Le First to Advance to D.C.

The first regional bee for 2018 was in Belmont County, Ohio. Linh Le, an eighth grader from St. Clairsville Middle School, correctly spelled "sinister" and "lenient" to win the trophy and prizes including a trip to the national finals in the Washington D.C. area. Thanks to all the local sponsors: The Times Leader, Belmont Savings Bank, Goldberg, Persky & White, East Central Ohio Educational Service Center, Airport Limousine Service and AAA Auto Club.

Photo credit: Shelley Hanson/The Times Leader
 

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