Benoit, the daughter of Joseph and Caprice Benoit of Yankton and a student at Sacred Heart Middle School, was the top oral speller. Harshavardhan, a student at Jolley Elementary School in Vermillion, and Addo, a student at Dakota Valley Elementary School in McCook Lake, finished second and third, respectively, to advance to the state competition, which is at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 22 at Farber Hall inside of Old Main. They will compete against the top three places from each of these South Dakota regional locations: Rapid City, Mitchell, Sioux Falls and Castlewood. The event will be streamed live on

Thirty-five students, representing nine area elementary and middle schools, competed at the 2014 Southeast South Dakota Regional Spelling Bee. In addition to the oral bee, students completed a written exam prior to the oral competition. Benoit and Erica Okine of Dakota Valley Middle School tied for first place in the written bee with a perfect score while Owen Dudley from Vermillion Middle School was second and Yasha Doddabele of Dakota Valley Middle School was third.

The winner of the University of South Dakota Scripps Spelling Bee will participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, May 25-31, in Washington D.C. The competition is open for students in first grade through the eighth grade.

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