May 28, 2024 - News

Meet San Diego's Scripps National Spelling Bee competitor

Illustration of a bee beside a microphone.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Benjamin Evans, an eighth grader at Twin Peaks Middle School in Poway, might be a better speller than you.

Why it matters: The 14-year-old made it through the three preliminary rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee Tuesday.

What he's saying: Evans correctly spelled Gondwana, chose the correct answer to the vocabulary question "What is a symposium?" and then correctly spelled lycopene.

Flashback: He won San Diego County's spelling bee in March with the word epihippus to qualify for the national competition.

Zoom in: When he's not spelling, Evans plays basketball, football and the piano.

  • He's a fan of Marvel movies, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy.
  • He likes to read, particularly fantasy books by Brandon Mull, and his favorite subject is math because he sees it as a puzzle.

The big picture: With 245 spellers, this is the largest field of competitors since 2019.

Fun fact: Two national spelling bee champions have come from San Diego County — Anurag Kashyap in 2005 and Snigdha Nandipati in 2012.

What's next: Watch the quarterfinals Wednesday from 5am-10am, followed by the semifinals Wednesday starting at 5pm and the finals Thursday starting at 5pm.

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