OXON HILL, Md. — The championship round is underway at the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Eleven finalists are competing for $30,000 in cash and prizes and a huge, cup-shaped trophy. The competition tests their brain power, composure and, for the first time, knowledge of vocabulary.
Fourteen-year-old Grace Remmer of St. Augustine, Fla., got the final rounded started Thursday night by spelling “greffier,” which means an official recorder or keeper of records.
The finalists include several spelling bee veterans. Thirteen-year-old Arvind Mahankali finished third last year and in 2011, tripped up both times by words of German origin. Eleven-year-old Vanya Shivashankar, the sister of the 2009 champion, would be the youngest winner in decades if she were to win.
This was the first year that a computerized vocabulary test helped determine the finalists.