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Local Scripps National Spelling Bee contestants 'nervous' but 'confident'

Spelling Bee Campbell and Castilla
Posted at 2:06 PM, May 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-27 17:41:35-04

The biggest spelling competition of the year is underway, and some of the Tri-State’s local spellers say the nerves are kicking in.

“I’m feeling very nervous because it’s my first time on ESPN,” said 13-year-old Sebastian Castilla, “but I’ve been doing a lot of practice so I’m confident.”

Castilla, who attends the Schilling School for Gifted Children, has already won four spelling bees but never on the national stage.

MORE: Record number of spellers arrive for the Scripps National Spelling Bee

Thirteen-year-old Henry Campbell, who attends Highlands Middle School, has some familiarity with the national spelling contest — his brother competed nearly ten years ago. He’s not afraid to admit that he hopes to beat his brother.

“I just try to read as many words as I can from books or magazines or really anything,” Campbell said.

Campbell and Castilla are both 13, they’re both sponsored by WCPO 9 On Your Side and neither seem phased by the $50,000 cash prize — the largest cash prize in the history of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

“I’m not sure I’ll win but that would be a nice bonus,” Castilla said.

Campbell has another idea in mind.

“You know the pronouncer of the spelling bee? I think it’d be pretty interesting to meet him,” he said.

The two teens are among the 565 spellers competing in the Bee this year, and among six spellers from the Tri-State.

Spelling Bee Local Spellers
Six local spellers will participate in the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee: (Top Row, left to right) Henry Campbell, Sebastian Castilla, Sheridan Hennessy (Bottom row, left to right) Kolton Manuel, Noah Paticoff and Tyler Turnpaugh.

“It’s pretty cool learning about words,” Campbell said. “And then learning languages and cultures through words.”

The Preliminaries Test started Monday in National Harbor, Maryland. The onstage competition begins Tuesday with coverage provided by ESPN and its family channels. See the full coverage plan below:

Tuesday, May 28

  • Round Two and the beginning of Round Three
  • 9:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • ESPN3 and the ESPN App

Wednesday, May 29

  • Round Three continues
  • 8 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m.
  • ESPN3 and the ESPN App
  • The announcement of Finalists is at about 4:45 p.m.

Thursday, May 30

  • Finals begin at 10 a.m. and run until about 2 p.m.
  • Live on ESPN2, livestream on the ESPN App and play along on ESPNU

After a break Thursday, May 30:

  • Primetime Finals continue
  • 8:30 p.m. 10:30 p.m.
  • Live on ESPN, livestream on the ESPN App and play along on ESPNU