The top spellers, Luke Norby of Dakota Valley Elementary School (McCook Lake, S.D.) and Adele Benoit of Sacred Heart Middle School (Yankton, S.D.), advanced to the University of South Dakota Scripps Spelling Bee where they will compete against eight of the state’s top spellers on Saturday, March 23 at Farber Hall, which is located inside Old Main on the USD campus.

Sophia Vyborny, also from Sacred Heart Middle School, finished in third place of the oral competition while the top three spellers during the written Spelling Bee were Erica Okine, first place; Kameron Meacham, second place; and Caden Peters, third place. All three contestants are students at Dakota Valley Middle School. Additional participants included Emily Kurtz of Dakota Valley Elementary School; Kaleb Martin of Dakota Valley Middle School; Natalie Shoberg of Keeli Bent Sacred Heart Middle School; Kristina Hlavac, Kerry Cosman and Dallas Fuerst of Scotland Middle School; Tommy Jennewein, Austin Hamm, Wyatt Knutson and Morgan Kerkman of St. Agnes School; and Lizzy Riley, Bailey Sejnoha and Ben Rust of Yankton Middle School. A photograph of all 20 participants is available for download at

The winner of the University of South Dakota Scripps Spelling Bee next month will participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, May 26-31, in Washington D.C. The competition is open for students in first grade through the eighth grade.

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