"This is not something that comes easy".
Grace Jones was one of the first to spell Wednesday.
Boerne's Alex Iyer, the spelling whiz who went deep past year in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, has made it into tonight's finals after making it through seven rounds this morning.
"The hard part for me is vocabulary". No one will know, I promise. Hard work and perseverance are some of the others.
Her mother said she quizzed her daughter on words up to five times a day but limited each session to 20 minutes.
Rajeev wakes up at 5:30 a.m.to being practicing spelling, spending time with his spelling coach and time with his dad, Rajeev Muralidharan.
Kumar, 11, lowered her head as she stepped off the stage, but she said she won't let herself feel too discouraged because as a sixth grader she has the opportunity to try again next year.
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Bautista - a seventh-grader at Edgewood Campus School who traveled to National Harbor, Md., for his third national competition - earned 28 points in all, just shy of the 29 points needed to make it to the finals.
An impressive run but no championship for IN at this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee. She was so "calm and confident" on the stage, Ryan said.
Although she didn't claim the appellation of "winner" this year, 10-year-old Rakesh has four more years of eligibility for the bee.
The 90th national bee features spellers, ages 6 to 15, from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Department of Defense Schools in Europe. If there is a tie on the test, judges will declare co-champions.
The other competitor from Oklahoma set a record by simply being in the bee.
Those eliminated include 6-year-old Edith Fuller of Tulsa, Okla., the bee's youngest-ever speller.