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National spelling bee finals begin with 50 seeking title

1 year 4 months 3 weeks ago Thursday, May 30 2019 May 30, 2019 May 30, 2019 8:17 AM May 30, 2019 in News - AP Texas Headlines

By BEN NUCKOLS
Associated Press

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) - The finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee have begun, with 50 kids on stage competing for more than $50,000 in cash and prizes and a new, custom-designed trophy.

This year's bee had the biggest field ever, with 562 spellers, more than half of whom got in through Scripps' wild-card program. Last year was the first time that wild cards were allowed into the bee, and the eventual champion was a wild card.

Thursday's finalists include nine spellers who finished in at least a tie for 10th last year. The field will be narrowed to about a dozen spellers in the morning and early afternoon before the prime-time finals on ESPN.

The last 14 champions and 19 of the past 23 have been Indian-American.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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