2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee starts with 3 Arizona students

May 30, 2023, 12:37 PM | Updated: May 31, 2023, 9:39 am

Tazbah Spruhan of Window Rock, Arizona, reacts after misspelling "Groenendael" during a preliminary...

Tazbah Spruhan of Window Rock, Arizona, reacts after misspelling "Groenendael" during a preliminary round of the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 30, 2023, in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Three Arizona middle school students qualified to compete in this week’s Scripps National Spelling Bee in suburban Washington, D.C.

The event started Tuesday morning with about 230 spellers and wraps up Thursday night.

Karen Opoku-Appoh, a 14-year-old eighth grader at Marana Middle School, qualified by winning the Arizona Educational Foundation’s Arizona Spelling Bee in March.

Opal Mishra, 12, made it to nationals by finishing second at the Arizona Spelling Bee. The sixth grader at Basha Accelerated Middle School in Chandler is the youngest of Arizona’s three participants.

Tazbah Spruhan, a 13-year-old eighth grader from Tséhootsooí Middle School in Window Rock, punched her ticket by winning the Navajo Times-Navajo Nation Spelling Bee in March.

The preliminary rounds of the 95th Scripps National Spelling Bee included both spelling and word meaning.

Spruhan misspelled “Groenendael” (a dog breed) as “Grunendoll” in the first round Tuesday, but Opoku-Appoh and Mishra made it through the first three rounds of the opening day.

Opoku-Appoh correctly spelled “wapiti” (a type of elk) and knew “immolate” means “to sacrifice oneself in the interests of some goal or cause” before spelling “ecosphere” properly.

Mishra got the spelling right on “hyssop” (a shrub in the mint family), properly defined “subcutaneous” as “located beneath the skin” and correctly spelled “cyclical.”

The contest is being broadcast by the Ion Plus and Ion platforms.

Tuesday’s preliminary round coverage was set to run on Ion Plus from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Arizona time).

Ion Plus will also show the quarterfinals from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Ion will televise the semifinals from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and the finals from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday.

The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Fort Washington, Maryland, is hosting the competition.

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2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee starts with 3 Arizona students