Local contestants in the Scripps National Spelling Bee will be on stage early today.
Audrey Melton, a 14-year-old eighth-grader at St. Andrew School in Rock Falls, and Anna Ackerman Snider, a 14-year-old eighth-grader at Forreston Junior High School, are in the first grouping of spellers who will begin preliminary round 2 at 7 a.m. today in National Harbor, Maryland. The second grouping will begin at 9 a.m.
Students who misspell words in round 2 are eliminated. If Melton and Snider advance out of round 2, they will begin round 3 at 12:15 p.m. today. Once round 3 is completed, the top 50 remaining spellers advance to the semifinals. Those names will be announced about 4 p.m. today.
Today's preliminary rounds and announcement of semifinalists will be broadcast live online on ESPN3.
Melton and Snider are among 281 contestants. Melton, sponsored by the Daily Gazette, won the Whiteside County Regional Spelling Bee on Feb. 24. Snider, sponsored by the Telegraph, won the Lee/Ogle Regional Spelling Bee on Feb. 20.
All competitors participated in a computer-based preliminaries test Tuesday. Those scores will be used in determining which 50 students advance to the semifinals.
The semifinals will be televised on ESPN2 from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday. The championship finals, from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, will be broadcast live on ESPN.
Go to www.spellingbee.com/roundresults for round-by-round results from the Scripps National Spelling Bee.