Dakota Valley student advances in national spelling bee

Angie Massey
June 2, 2017

Instead, he spelled hauteur.

On Wednesday, Rajeev correctly spelled "Dijon" and "phorminx", an ancient Greek instrument. However, her preliminary test score from Tuesday was not high enough for her to join the 40 finalists. "I didn't want to get my hopes up", she said.

This is the day that all 291 spellers get an opportunity to spell on stage, and those who miss will hear the dreaded bell signaling elimination. I thought I did pretty well.

At a press conference before the competition, Fuller sat with her parents, Annie and Justin, and fielded questions with the poise of someone three (or four) times her age. VanWynsberghe did not advance to the final rounds on Thursday where only 40 spellers will compete for the championship, as the spellers were narrowed down to allow a maximum of 50 to advance.

"It could have been better, could have been worse", Jake said of the written test.

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"I glanced at [the list] and looked at it once or twice, but I'm not as hardcore into the competitive sport as some kids are", he said. The largest contingent of participants are 13 years old. Dad Brian Blackburn has been there before.

They've seen the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, Arlington National Cemetery and a couple of the Smithsonians.

"It was fun and interesting touring", he said. "We can go sightseeing and shopping". This is the Harrisonburg native's second stint at the Scripps National Spelling Bee and she's already dominating the stage.

"It feels really exciting", she told the smitten reporters. "Congratulations to Shruthika Padhy of Cherry Hill for advancing to the @ScrippsBee National Spelling Bee Finals".

Last year Iyer was in the final group of 45 spellers out of 284 elementary-school and middle-school students who competed in Washington, D.C. He was knocked out before the televised finals.

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