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.