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The Last one: 16 pre-prime-time spelling bee finals

OXON HILL, Md. – The Latest in the Scripps National Spelling Bee (all times are local):

3 hours

Sixteen accomplished spellers have advanced to the prime-time finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, an unusually high number after a morning session lasted 4½ hours.

The final started with 41 players, and the number slowly dwindled over five rounds, but there was never a mass exodus of the stage. At one point in the second round, 21 consecutive children spelled their words correctly.

Three players in the top 10 of last year still have a chance to repeat that performance: Erin Howard, Naysa Modi and Shruthika Padhy.

Tara Singh, which her fifth and final appearance in the bee, go to the prime-time finale for the first time.

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9 hours

The dramatic final rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee to begin.

Forty players advanced Thursday to the finals from a field of 516 — by far the largest in the 93-year history of the competition. Scripps began with a wild-card program this year that created a path to the nationals for players who have not won their regional bees, and a number of the finalists were the bees that way.

The last 13 champions and 18 of the last 22 are Indian-American, and that trend can easily continue. Most of the consensus favorites this year is the honey bee Indian heritage.

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