St. Francis student headed to National Spelling Bee finals

June 2, 2017 GMT

This guy knows his ABC’s.

Thomas York, a 14-year-old eighth-grader at St. Francis of Assissi School will be representing Rochester at the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee in suburban Washington. He was the only Minnesotan to advance from the written spelling and vocabulary test, on which contestants needed a score of at least 29 to be one of 40 to advance tonight.

York was a strong contender while competing live during the national telecast on ESPN3 yesterday, competing against 291 spellers. He sailed through rounds by correctly spelling words like “radiolarian” and “taxonomic,” according to news reports.

Those interested in rooting for York can catch the early rounds of the finals on ESPN2, and the final rounds on ESPN later in the evening. Last year, the longest-lasting Minnesotan was May Meyer from Minnetonka Middle School East, who got through three words before incorrectly spelling “dulia.”

The last time Minnesota had a national champion was Sean Conley of Shakopee in 2001.

The national competition started in 1925 with nine contestants.