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Sauk Valley spellers advance in national bee

May 30, 2018 GMT

WASHINGTON, D.C. – What do a Korean dish and a spider’s spinner have in common? They both helped two Sauk Valley spellers land a spot in Wednesday’s third round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Rebekah Zeigler of Aplington Middle School in Polo and Aubrey Charles of Carroll Middle School in Mount Carroll, both 13-year-old seventh-graders, passed their second round challenge Tuesday, Rebekah by spelling bulgogi (a Korean beef dish) and Aubrey by spelling cribellate (having or relating to the cribellun, a special, additional spinning organ that only some spiders have.)

Spellers can earn up to 36 points – up to 30 points for a written test and 3 points for an oral test, which they took Tuesday, and 3 points for an oral test Wednesday. Contestants’ point totals won’t be available until after the finals.

Wednesday’s bee activity will be broadcast on ESPN3 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. ESPN3 is and online streaming service available through cable providers.

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The top 50 spellers will compete in Thursday’s finals. The preliminaries will air on ESPN2 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the final round on ESPN from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Rebekah is speller No. 125, and Aubrey speller No. 149.

This is Rebekah’s fourth consecutive trip to the national bee. She won the Lee-Ogle-Whiteside Regional Spelling Bee on Feb. 23.

Aubrey took second at the Carroll, Jo Daviess, and Stephenson County Spelling Bee on Feb. 20. The winner, Northern Illinois Christian Home Educators eighth-grader Caroline Otto, was unable to attend.