[Baltimore Sun] Seven Maryland spellers compete this week in 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee

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Navya Dwivedi, 13, of Columbia, is competing in the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee at National Harbor this week. It’s the second time in as many years that the Clarksville Middle School seventh grader is getting a chance to be named the nation’s top speller.

On Tuesday, she made it through the preliminary competition and will move on to Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

Navya attributed her success to her preparation process of studying new words in the dictionary and poring through words from past spelling bees. She also is an avid reader, which helps with spelling accuracy, too.

“Since this is a national competition, I’m competing with other people who are just as good and lot better than me,” she said. “It’s a really good opportunity to get to know other people and see how I can grow in the future.”

Navya is one of seven Maryland spellers who qualified to compete in the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee at National Harbor this week, after earning a spot by winning regional bees.

Quint Karlsson, 12, of Gambrills, a sixth grader at Crofton Middle School, is another. Quint said he only became interested in spelling bees earlier this year and was surprised to earn a spot at the national bee.

“I’m definitely surprised,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to make it into the Scripps Spelling Bee in my sixth-grade year.”

When not spelling, Quint enjoys playing sports with his friends, especially basketball, football and soccer, according to his bio on the bee’s website.

Quint won the Anne Arundel County bee with the word “emolument,” which qualified him for nationals.

June Keatley, 10, of Phoenix, a fourth grader at St. James Academy in Monkton, said it means a lot to her to be competing in the national spelling bee.

“It’s really special to be here in the National Spelling Bee and I feel really proud of myself,” she said.

In March, June won the regional Maryland Sports Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word “phlebotomy,” and earned a spot at the national bee as a result.

The national spelling bee began Tuesday with preliminaries for 245 spellers, all students in grades three through eight, and ranging in age from 8 to 15. Quarterfinal and semifinal rounds are set for Wednesday. The champion speller, to be named during final rounds on Thursday, will earn $50,000, a commemorative medal and The Scripps Cup, the official championship trophy of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The bee began in 1925 when Frank Neuhauser, 11, of Louisville, Kentucky won the first bee, according to the bee’s website. Neuhauser won by correctly spelling the word “gladiolus,” a flowering plant in the iris family. He earned a stack of gold coins worth $500 and a visit with President Calvin Coolidge.

More than a century later, the bee has had 108 total champions ranging in age from 11 to 15. Winning words have included “luge” and “scherenschnitte.”

Other Maryland spellers competing this week include:

Su Hliang, 13, a seventh grader at Saint Peter’s School in Montgomery County
Chase Camuti, 11, a fifth grader at Glade Elementary School in Frederick County
Aidan Cobos, 13, a seventh grader at Milton M. Somers Middle School in Charles County
Conor Keightley-Reinhardt, 14, an eighth grader at Crisfield High School and Academy in Somerset County

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