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Spelling bee champ gets his first taste of national competition

By Carolina Astrain
May 28, 2013 at 12:28 a.m.


IF YOU WATCH

• Preliminaries

WHEN: 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Wednesday

WHERE: Streaming live on ESPN3

• Semifinals

WHEN: 1-4 p.m., Thursday

WHERE: Live on ESPN2

• Championship Finals

WHEN: 7-9 p.m., Thursday

WHERE: Live on ESPN

Source: spellingbee.com

Colton Blinka, 14, a Travis Middle School eighth-grade student, endured his first day at the 2013 Scripps National Bee competition Tuesday.

The Regional Spelling Bee Champion joined 281 other spellers from across the country in a vocabulary exam testing the students' comprehension of the words included in their study list in preparation for the contest. The test was 45 minutes long and included 24 words.

"He was a bit nervous upon returning from testing this morning," said DeAnn Blinka, Colton's mother. "He knew he got some right and some wrong."

Colton won't find out what he made on Tuesday's test until the preliminary rounds Wednesday, said Blinka.

Colton and his family arrived in Washington, D.C., on Sunday.

On their second day of travel, the family did some Memorial Day shopping in Maryland and Virginia and went to the Smithsonian museum.

The second round begins Wednesday, and the finals will be shown live on ESPN on Thursday.

"He's ready for the competition in the morning," Blinka said.

The national champion will walk away with a trophy, a collection of reference books, a $30,000 cash prize and a $2,500 U.S. savings bond.

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