Local students competing in 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee


The country’s best spellers will be down in Washington, D.C. this week for the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Several of the contestants are from Maryland.

They’re considered some of the state’s best spellers. Sophia Clark, Isabel Messina, and Veer Tuliani are headed to D.C. to compete.

“One day my English teacher said hey we’re doing a classroom spelling bee and I won that. I went to the school – didn’t expect to win that; won it, and then I went to the regionals and the same thing there. So it’s just kind of been, kind of accident actually,” Clark said.

The middle schoolers, who range from 6th to 8th grade, are studying as much as they can, trying to spell through to the final rounds.

“My mom will say a word off of a list and I’ll spell it back to her. I’ll ask any questions that I need to and then the words that I get wrong, we’ll put on flash cards and study the flash cards,” Messina said.

“I mainly look at word roots because I go through these word lists and I look them up on the Merriam-Webster unabridged dictionary online and I find the definitions,” Tuliani said.

Each of three are interested in career fields beyond spelling: from art, to writing, to specializing in artificial intelligence.

In the meantime, however, they’re focused on the bee.

From the small words to the largest.

“It’s called pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis,” Tuliani said before spelling it perfectly. “It’s a lung disease caused by a volcanic dust,” he said, smirking.

It’s preparation, they hope, will get them crowned as this year’s champ.

“I’m really excited to meet other people. I’m obviously excited for the competition, but I’m really excited to meet other people who enjoy spelling as much as I do,” Messina said.

This year’s preliminary rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee will air on ESPN 3.

The final rounds air this Thursday with the last round at 8:30 on ESPN.

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