One young Minnesotan advanced to Thursday’s semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in suburban Washington, D.C. The competition drew more than 280 spellers and wraps up Thursday night with live televised coverage on ESPN.
• Emma Greenlee, 14, of Mesabi East High School, in Aurora, correctly spelled “asthmogenic” and “japery” on Wednesday to move past the second round. A competitive Nordic skier who has qualified for the state championships the last two years, Greenlee also competed in the national spelling bee last year, falling short of the semifinals. She is also a member of the high school soccer and track teams, plays the french horn and violin and participates in the Knowledge Bowl.
Four other Minnesotans also competed Wednesday but didn’t qualify for the semifinals. They are:
• Jacob Lahti, 13, Parkview Center School, Roseville.
• Nicholas Thompson, 14, New Prague Middle School.
• Christine Farnberg, 11, Holy Spirit Catholic School, Rochester.
• Adam Kleist, 14, Forestview Middle School, Baxter.
On Tuesday, all of the kids plowed through spelling and vocabulary testing on a computer. Wednesday was the first day that all the spellers were gathered together on stage in hopes of picking the right letters — in the right order — and be spared the dreaded “ding” that signals their demise. The champion wins $30,000 in cash, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and $2,000 worth of reference materials.