May 30 (UPI) — Fifty spellers from throughout the United States and other territories advanced to the finals in the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Wednesday.
The field narrowed from 565 spellers total, to 518 in the third round of the competition before the final 50 spellers who, were determined based on a mix of their performance during the stage spelling portion and a written test at the start of the event, emerged.
During the penultimate phase of the nationally televised competition, 369 contestants spelled their words correctly, while 149 misspelled, eliminating them from the competition.
The remaining field of spellers was narrowed down to the 50 who were able to earn at least 30 points by taking a written test and correctly spelling their words on stage.
Spellers were required to spell 12 words and answer 12 vocabulary questions for one point each, in addition earning six points each for answering two more vocabulary questions tied to words used in the second and third rounds, during the written test.
They could then earn three more points for each correct word they spelled on stage in the second and third rounds for a total of 36.
Texas sent a total of nine spellers to the finals — more than any other state — including two spellers who placed in the top 10 in last year’s National Spelling Bee. Rohan Raja, 13, placed 10th in 2018, while 12-year-old Abhijay placed third.
The remaining 50 spellers will strive for the first place prize of $40,000 in cash, a $2,500 savings bond and new reference books. The runner up wins $30,000, third place is awarded $20,000, fourth place earns $10,000, fifth place gets $5,000 and sixth place receives $2,500.
Spellers seventh place and below who reach the seventh round receive $2,000 dollars and all the contestants eliminated in the earlier rounds of the final phase get a $500 gift card. All 565 spellers who participated were also gifted an Amazon Kindle reader and some reference books.