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Waynesboro Teen Makes it to National Spelling Bee Finals - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Waynesboro Teen Makes it to National Spelling Bee Finals

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Samuel Pereles Samuel Pereles

A middle school student from Waynesboro finished in an honorable 12th place at this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee. Thirteen-year-old Samuel Pereles, a seventh-grader at Kate Collins Middle School, beat out more than 250 contestants to take one of the top spots.

The finals were held at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Maryland Thursday night.

When Pereles took the national stage, he misspelled “ecribellate” and was the first of the finalists to be knocked out. The word means a group of arachnomorph spiders comprising those that lack a cribellum.

Pereles says he's proud to be the 12th best speller in the country and has truly enjoyed this extraordinary experience.

“It was crazy definitely. I never expected to make it this far,” he said. “I mean, I just wanted to get to semis and when they announced my name for finals, I was like, ‘whoa, oh my goodness.’ Here I am spelling on stage with the best of the best, and didn't work out so well but I have one more year.”

Pereles says he works with a coach to practice for these spelling bees, and plans to do a whole lot more to get ready for next year.

Co-champions were crowned as the bee’s winners. Eighth-grader Sriram Hathwar from New York and seventh-grader Ansun Sujoe from Texas will share the trophy. This is the fourth time in the spelling bee has ended in a tie, the previous three happening in 1950, 1957, and 1962.

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