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Wayne County teen to take stage at Scripps National Spelling Bee

5 Northeast Ohio spellers will be there
Posted at 9:17 AM, May 30, 2022

DOYLESTOWN, Ohio — Five talented young Northeast Ohioans are headed to Washington, D.C. this week to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. One is getting a second shot to showcase his skills at the national contest.

Wayne County speller Andrew Yeager, 14, tied for 111th place in 2021. The competition was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Chippewa Junior/Senior High School is looking forward to making his debut in person.

“I would hopefully like to get past how far I got last year,” Yeager told News 5.

The eighth-grader said he spends about two hours daily practicing spelling words and definitions. Since 2021, the second round of each competition segment has included a word meaning round, which requires the speller to orally select the correct multiple choice answer to a vocabulary question read by the pronouncer.

“That’s usually the part where I struggle the most,” Yeager said.

His father, Derek Yeager, has been acting as coach and mentor for the ambitious speller.

“I could probably work with him all day, every day but that would probably drive him nuts,” Yeager said. “To know we finally get to go to DC is sort of a payoff, reward for all the effort he’s put into everything.”

Both of his parents, along with his older brother, have all had forays into the world of competitive spelling.

“I’ve always won the school bee, except the first year in fifth grade… in which my brother beat me,” Andrew Yeager said.

His father added, “Mom won a round way back when, I won a round when I was in eighth grade and [he’s] just kind of carrying on the tradition.”

The national competition starts with the preliminaries on Tuesday, May 31, and concludes with the finals on Thursday, June 2.

Yeager hopes to improve on his finish from the previous year, but his father said the process has been an invaluable experience.

“It just shows that if you put some effort behind something, you can really accomplish a whole lot of things,” he said.

Other Northeast Ohio spellers in the Scripps National Spelling Bee include:

  • Rayeann Sharma, 11 - Mayfield Heights.

  • Parker Joseph Pacifico, 14 - Ashtabula.

  • Julianne Liliestedt, 12 - Canton.

  • Parker Dodge, 14 - LaGrange.

See all of the details about this year's Bee by clicking on this link.