Tag: scripps national spelling bee

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

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


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.