Nguyen makes mark at National Spelling Bee

Shreeta, the daughter of Peter and Bharti Vachhani, is representing our region in the bee.

Edith Fuller, 6 from Tulsa, is the youngest speller in bee history.

Our Washington bureau's Peter Zampa caught up with all three of them today. It was one of several challenging words presented to competitors in the first round. Shreeta was the 68th participant this morning.

Two words spelled correctly, and now Varad Mulay and his family know that his ticket to the finals has been punched.

Even though Fuller correctly spelled her two words, she didn't advance to final rounds on Thursday due to her score on the written test. The televised portion of the finals begins at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN.

The finals continue with Round 4, according to the Scripps National website.

"This is what I've wanted to do for a long time, just to arrive in D.C., meet all these kids, see some sights and spell some words", he said.

The field of 291 spellers consists of students who won locally sponsored bees in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, along with American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Department of Defense schools in Europe.

"Look, Dr. (Jacques) Bailly, you're going to really need to come through for me right now, OK?" she asked.

Organizers determined the finalists based on their on-stage spelling Wednesday and their performance on the written spelling and multiple-choice vocabulary test they took on Tuesday, Miller said. Of the total spellers in the bee, 20 are age 10 or younger.

Charlie was also a spelling bee contender, who made it to second place in regional competition, Amy Blackburn said.

The 40 finalists will compete in more oral rounds today until a grand prize victor emerges.

Olivia Charles, an eighth-grade student at West Carroll Middle School, listens to the judge Wednesday as she learns that she missed her third-round word, stephanotis, during the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

  • Larry Hoffman