OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — The finals of the 85th Scripps National Spelling Bee are under way.
Snigdha Nandipati was up first Thursday night. The 14-year-old from San Diego correctly spelled "psammon," which means an ecological community.
Out of 278 participants, nine are competing for the championship. The finals will continue until all spellers but one misses a word. If every remaining speller gets a word wrong in the same round, they all come back for another try.
Finalists include Nicholas Rushlow, who's making his fifth consecutive appearance in the bee. Arvind Mahankali is in the finals for the third straight year.
The winner will receive $30,000 in cash, a trophy, a $2,500 savings bond, a $5,000 scholarship, $2,600 in reference works from the Encyclopedia Britannica and an online language course.