Gazette-Mail Spelling Bee
Just after 5 p.m., officials released the list of semifinalists. Parents, participants and spectators waited breathlessly as bee director Paige Kimble stepped onstage and read the list.
In the end, no West Virginia contestants made it to the semifinals.
Lori Anne Madison, a Virginia 6-year-old who is the youngest-ever national bee contestant, also did not advance.
Lori made a good showing early in the bee.
Photographers snapped away as Lori, wearing a bright pink polo shirt and green flip-flop sandals, stepped to the microphone and spelled "dirigible." She high-fived a much larger contestant on the way back to her seat.
Then, following round two, ESPN reporter Samantha Steele took to the stage to get her own turn at the microphone. ESPN2 will broadcast the semifinals at 10 a.m. and the finals at 8 p.m. today.
Steele's word was "slobberhannes."
"I don't speak German," Steele told pronouncer Jacques Bailly.
She eventually called for backup . . . from Lori. The pint-size speller walked from her seat to stand beside Steele.
"I think it's a joke," she told the reporter.
Later, Lori failed to spell her round three word correctly, replacing the "I" at the beginning of "ingluvies" with an "E."
This time, as she returned to her chair, the crowd in the Gaylord National Hotel let out a collective, sympathetic "aww."