Fifty young spellers, winnowed down from hundreds of contestants, will battle it out on the last day of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday when the champion will walk away with a $50,000 prize.
The three-day competition in Maryland started on Tuesday with a record 562 spellers aged 7 to 15. Spellers had to ace common words such as “intolerable” and “detrimental” as well as more obscure terms such as “annus mirabilis” and “hibernaculum.”
By Wednesday morning, there were still 490 contestants left in the competition but that number shrank rapidly throughout the day as one after the other was eliminated. Some kids took defeat in their stride, but others left the stage wiping away tears.
I bid you adieu, said Eleanor Tallman, 14, from Flower Mound, Texas, with a smile, after misspelling “impermissible.”
Spencer Phillips, 13, of McFarland, Wisconsin, let out a victory cry and punched the air after correctly spelling ”zealotry”. He tied for 42nd place in 2018.
The bee drew spelling aces from across U.S. and six other countries: the Bahamas, Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea.