Tag: scripps national spelling bee

Howard County’s Jack Nolan Advances to National Spelling Bee Semifinals

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Jack, at a regional bee

Didn’t I tell you to watch out for this kid? After a written test and two rounds of live spelling, eighth-grader Jack Nolan of Howard County is one of 50 kids (and the only Marylander) still competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which started with a field of 278. Remember, he made it to nationals in 2009 but was eliminated in the preliminary rounds. After suffering defeat two consecutive years at the regional level — and this being his last year of eligibility — Nolan has promised to “bring it.”

Just so you know, most of Maryland’s representatives — including third-grader Shaheer Ali Imam — spelled both words correctly in Round 2 and Round 3 (the two live rounds), but those results are combined with a speller’s performance on the written test to determine their eligibility for the semifinals, a process that only gets more complex as the years go by — I’m sure soon we’ll be incorporating the numerological value of the spellers’ middle names to thin the field.

The words that Jack has spelled so far: dichotomy and kalema.

Live ESPN coverage of the semifinals begins at 10 a.m. today. Jack is speller no. 105.

Maryland Well Represented in National Spelling Bee

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The preliminary round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee — a computerized test intended to thin the field of 278 spellers — kicks off today, with two days of live televised spelling beginning Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. and continuing throughout the day on Thursday.

If you plan to watch it on ESPN, root for spellers 102 through 110 — they represent Maryland. Among them is Shaheer Ali Imam of Baltimore, one of only two third-graders competing. He’ll definitely be an interesting speller to watch over the long term. As a third grader, he has the potential to come back to the bee five more times! That kind of experience can make a big difference in such a high-pressure contest. And with highly competitive regional competitions, it’s also a rarity.

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