GA, S.C. human dictionaries take on the nation

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NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (Gray DC) -- The country’s buzzing as we draw closer to the conclusion of a grueling season of competition. No, not the NBA Finals, or Stanley Cup, but this year’s National Spelling Bee.

With pride and a college scholarship on the line – America’s best and brightest flexed their brainpower Tuesday.

South Carolina’s Mallory Zinger said competitors can’t be awed by the TV cameras or the competition. "If you have the determination of how far you’re going to get, then you’re probably going to have a better chance," said the North Augusta 8th grader.

The word ‘cappadociam’ ended Mallory’s competition Tuesday afternoon, but before the reference to an ancient Turkish empire knocked her out, she told us she couldn’t lose no matter how well she spelled. "I feel like with the spelling bee, it will be a win win," she said, "because if I lose, then I get to go visit some more stuff in D.C., but if I win then that would be cool too."

Those who spell their word correctly on-stage move on to Day 2.
To make the finals though, they also needed to nail Tuesday morning’s written test. "I think it went okay, there were some words I didn’t know," said Caroline Spivey of Millen, Georgia, "but I think I have a good chance of getting through."

Spivey, a 7th grader, said she’ll keep studying as long as she remains in the competition, putting on a good show for those following along on TV back home.

We wanted to know if everyone back home turns to her when there's a spelling question. "Pretty much" she said with a smile, "mama asked me how to spell 'calendar' the other day."

Asked if her mother would want that story told to the local news, Caroline didn't regret sharing the story. "Well I did," she said, "she’ll be okay."

After Tuesday, Spivey remains in the running to win the college scholarship that comes with victory. A financial boost like that would certainly help heal any unintended sleight.

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