The 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee will be taking place May 29-31 in National Harbor, Maryland. Over 500 kids will be participating in the annual competition, including 15 students from Missouri, and one from Sedalia!

Mollie Miner is an 11-year-old student at Sedalia Middle School. According to the Meet the Spellers section at SpellingBee.com, Mollie's favorite movie is A League of Their Own, her favorite TV show is The Big Bang Theory, and she's a fan of John Lennon.

Mollie won the Sedalia Middle School spelling bee by correctly spelling "nestle" on March 13. Sedalia 200 said in a news release that the contest lasted multiple rounds: "It took six rounds for Mollie to outlast first runner-up Thomas Preuitt and second runner-up Harrison Ray. Each winner received online access to Encyclopedia Britannica. Mollie also received a yearlong online subscription to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, and she will receive The Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, a 2018 United States Mint Proof Set presented by Sugarman in honor of his father."

Mollie is among 516 spellers registered for the 2018 Bee come from all 50 states, the District of ColumbiaAmerican SamoaGuamPuerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Department of Defense Schools in Europe and eight other countries: the BahamasCanadaGhanaItalyJamaicaJapanSouth Korea and the United Kingdom. E.W. Scripps says in a news release that spellers range in age from 8 to 15. "For the first time, there are two sets of identical twins competing. A total of 113 spellers have previous experience competing in the national finals. Forty-five spellers have relatives who previously participated in a combined 99 Scripps National Spelling Bees."

The 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee contestants from Missouri are:

  • Liam Hahn, Rolla Middle School
  • Sophia Nguyen, Bode Middle School (St. Joseph)
  • Brayden Armes, St. Joseph School
  • Natalie Burnett, Cathedral School (St. Joseph
  • Lauren Holsapple, Mid-Missouri Co-op of Home Educators (Columbia)
  • Alice Liu, Crestview Middle School
  • Ryan Smith, Mary Institute & St. Louis Country Day School
  • Joshua Roodhouse Hale, DuBray Middle School (St. Peters)
  • Alecia McCulley, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta School (Florissant)
  • Brady Hughes, Pleasant Hill Intermediate School
  • Kael Miranda, John B. Lange Middle School (Columbia)
  • Mollie Miner, Sedalia Middle School
  • Rohan Rao, Ann Hawkins Gentry Middle School (Columbia)
  • Delaney Nash, Union Chapel Elementary School (Kansas City)
  • Joseph Benson, Antioch Middle School (Kansas City)

ESPN is providing coverage of the Scripps National Spelling Bee beginning on May 29 through the ESPN App. Finals will air on ESPN 2 (and the ESPN App) on May 31.

The prizes for the Champion include:

  • $40,000 cash prize (if co-champs, both winners get $40,000)
  • Engraved trophy
  • $2,500 cash prize and complete reference library from Merriam-Webster
  • Reference works and three-year online membership from Encyclopædia Britannica
  • Trip to New York City to appear on "Live with Kelly and Ryan," which airs weekday mornings in national syndication
  • Trip to Hollywood to appear on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" which airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. Eastern/10:35 Central (pending availability)
  • A pizza party for the Champion's school presented by Pizza Hut