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​Olathe Teen Reaches National Spelling Bee Finals

Spelling bee contestant Vanya Shivashankar of Olathe (Image credit: Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee)

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Ten of the nation's most poised young spellers have made it to the finals of the 88th Scripps National Spelling Bee. The finalists include several veterans of the competition. Thirteen-year-old Vanya Shivashankar of Olathe, Kansas, is competing for the fifth time. It's her second time in the finals. Her sister, Kavya, won in 2009. If Vanya were to win, they would be the first siblings to accomplish that feat. Fourteen-year-old Gokul Venkatachalam of Chesterfield, Missouri, finished third last year, just behind the two co-champions. Twelve-year-old Tejas Muthusamy of Glen Allen, Virginia, is another returning finalist. Two other siblings of past champions were eliminated in the semifinals. The spellers will compete Thursday night for more than $37,000 in cash and prizes.


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