Scripps National Spelling Bee kicks off in D.C. with competitors from Northeast Ohio

Posted at 6:10 AM, May 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-30 07:22:57-04

Can you spell sarcoidosis? How about postmortem? Spellers from all over Northeast Ohio are in Washington D.C. for the Scripps national spelling bee this week.

It began Tuesday, but before they headed out of town, News 5 spoke with a couple of the Ohio contestants that soared to the top of their classes to capture a coveted spot among some of the nation's top, sophisticated spellers.

“We studied for probably like an hour every day. I studied so much,” said Macey Stancato.

Stancato, 14 years old, lives in Beloit, Ohio. The middle school student is competing in this week's Scripp's National Spelling Bee.


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“Everyone's been like wishing me luck and I'm pretty sure every single person in the school has asked me if I'm practicing and when I'm leaving,” she said.

To prepare, she learned how to spell every winning word, since the competition began in 1925.

"I'm really nervous but I guess that sort of just goes along with being in the national spelling bee,” she said.

“A little nervous, but I feel fine about it really,” said Emelie OjukwuMale.

Emelie OjukuMale, 13 years old, from Lagrange, Ohio, is really confident. He soared to spelling success relatively easily.

"I usually go to the word of origin first cause some words they relate like plateau and nouveau, they have the same ending cause they're French,” he said.

OjukwuMale and Stancato will be among nearly 300 students trying to bring home the ultimate title of the nation's top student speller. It's not easy though, they will have to make it past three preliminary rounds, before the finals. Not to mention, they'll compete against the top spellers from fifty states and other countries.

But for OjukwuMale and Stancato, even making it this far, means they've won.

“Just do my best and see where it takes me,” said OjukwuMale.

"I'm just going to do my best so if I win I win and if I don't I know that I gave it 110%,” said Stancato.

The last three years, the spelling bee has ended in a tie, so there are new rules to help prevent that from happening again. Spellers who remain on Thursday afternoon will have to take a written test. The spelling bee limits the number of rounds in the finals. If there's still no winner when the limit is reached, the written test will break the tie. You can try your spelling skills by taking the Scripps spelling test here.