In National Spelling Bee, Denver student nails “simulacrum” as she and 6 other Coloradans advance

Carolyn Kaster, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Seven Colorado students will get a chance to advance to finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee after each knocked down the word they were given Wednesday in the latest round of the closely watched competition.

One of those was Denver’s Angelina Holm, 11, who successfully spelled “simulacrum,” a semblance or image of someone or something.

Another competitor still in it is Boulder’s Cameron Keith, 12, who is being coached by fellow Coloradan and past finalist Sylvie Lamontagne. He moved on with the correct spelling of “Zimbabwean.”

Of the eight spellers Colorado sent to the bee, only Broomfield’s Gia Bao Pham, 10 — the state’s youngest hopeful — failed to advance. He misspelled “savoy,” a European region, after nailing “pongee,” a type of fabric, the round before.

For the remaining seven Coloradans, the biggest hurdle is still ahead.

At around 5 p.m. eastern, bee officials will announce which spellers will advance to the finals on Thursday.

To do so, a speller has to correctly spell two words onstage – as the seven Coloradans have done – and do well enough on a written test to outpace most of the competition, as no more than 50 spellers can qualify for the finals.

That’s an especially tall feat this year as a record 516 spellers entered the competition.

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