The Washington Post

National Spelling Bee: Meet our local spellers

Ian T. Wendt, 12, of Lewiston, Idaho yawns before the start of the preliminary round at the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee. (Ricky Carioti/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Break out the big words. Cue the cute kids. It’s time for the 84th edition of the National S-p-e-l-l-i-n-g B-e-e!

At the National Harbor, the first speller stepped to the microphone for the second round Wednesday morning with a doozie of a word: ”dolorifuge.” You know, dolorifuge (doh-LOHR-uh-fyooj) — something that banishes grief.

So, what are the chances of a local champ? Pretty good, if you go by numbers alone.

Maryland, Virginia and the District have 23 out of the 275 representatives at the annual competition; only four of them misspelled words in the second round. Young Ian Fraser, of Richmond, got tripped up by gloxinia, but who wouldn’t?

Our spellers also include:

*Woodbridge's Justin Jihoon Yum, 12, who has been a member of Mensa since he was eight and has scored higher than 700 on each of the sections of the SAT. He would like to meet Steve Jobs.

*Reston’s Shruti Anant, 12, who plays clarinet, keyboard and bass guitar and has built prize-winning Lego structures.

*Winchester’s Samuel George Estep, who builds computer games on his calculator. His dream is to build a computer that understands English.

*D.C.’s Donovan Jordan, 11, who is an avid reader. He may have a little extra pressure on him, since he’s only contestant from the District.

Check out the full roster of local contestants.

Think you’re smarter than a spelling bee champ? Check out the first round word test.

Post reporter Robert Samuels is tweeting from the event. His tweets and #spellingbee chatter are pulled in here:


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