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Meet Dev and Bruhat: 2 Tampa Bay area spellers competing in Scripps National Spelling Bee

In total, nine students from across Florida will compete.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Spellers from across the United States are already competing in this year's Scripps Spelling Bee with two students checking in from the Tampa Bay area.

Dev Shah, 14, from Largo, Florida, is competing for the third time. Previously, the 8th grader from Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School competed in 2019 and tied for 51st place and again in 2021 in which he tied for 76th place. 

In Shah's "Meet the Sellers" bio, he said his hobbies include reading, playing tennis, playing the cello and solving math problems. The 8th grade student from Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School's favorite athlete is Roger Federer and he, too, has been sucked into the Wordle craze that swept the nation last year.

Bruhat Soma, 11, from Tampa, Florida, is also competing this year. The sixth grader from Turner Bartels K-8 School enjoys playing basketball, football and Ping-Pong.

The two are competing against 229 other spellers from across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rock, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Department of Defense Schools in Europe. In total, nine students from across Florida will compete.

Preliminaries begin Tuesday, May 30, with semifinals following on Wednesday, May 31. Quarterfinals also take place Wednesday and finals will follow the next day, June 1. The Scripps Spelling Bee will be available on ION.

Spellers will receive a number of awards and prizes from both the Bee and prize sponsors. Awards include a $50,000 cash prize for the champion, followed by $25,000 for second place and $15,000 for third. Cash prizes continue for spellers that make it to the semifinals.

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