WASHINGTON — Dover's Emma Ciereszynski has made it to Thursday's semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
“I'm really excited, but also really nervous,” the 14-year-old eighth-grader said by telephone after she learned she'd made the final 50 who will begin competing Thursday on live national television.
In March, Ciereszynski beat out more than 200 school-level champions to win the New Hampshire spelling bee, which was sponsored by the New Hampshire Union Leader. But she said the national bee in Washington, D.C., is a completely different ball game.
And now, she said, she's made it to spelling's version of the majors.
“There are going to be some pretty hard words that I might not know,” she said. “And I'm going to be on TV.”
Ciereszynski, who is quick to joke that her name helped make her a good speller, advanced out of Tuesday's and Wednesday's preliminary rounds by earning 28 out of 31 possible points, said her mother, Donna, who treated them to dinner at a Portuguese restaurant Wednesday night.
“I screamed and cried,” Donna said. “I was just so excited.”
After a computer round of spelling on Tuesday, the spellers were each given two words to spell. Ciereszynski got hers — “nobiliary” and “sabermetrics” — correct.
“I'd studied both of them before. I knew them,” she said.
Thursday's semifinal rounds will be telecast live on ESPN2 today at 10 a.m. The championship round will be shown live on ESPN at 8 p.m. Thursday.