THE 2016 SPELLING BEE POOL: Forty-five amazing spellers remain.
Our rules are not too different from years past. There are three returning spellers from last year's primetime finals -- Tejas Muthusamy, Snehaa Ganesh Kumar, and Sylvie Lamontagne. You can only have one of them in your pair.
So: pick two spellers, only one of whom can be from among those three. While individual spellers can be used more than once, you cannot repeat the same pairing that someone else has already submitted. First come, first served, and you cannot choose a speller once s/he spells a second time tomorrow.
You will get one point for each word your spellers correctly spell during today's rounds of the Bee, which resumes at 10am eastern on ESPN2. Most points wins; tiebreaker will be whoever has the individual speller going the furthest. Do not edit your entry after you've made it; if you need to make corrections, reply to your original comment.
It's my blog, so I go first: I came really close to picking Tejas Muthusamy last year, but I couldn't bring myself to pick a sixth-grader. I will not make that mistake again. And as I've done in years past, I will take Chaunté Blackwood, because some day a Jamaican speller will win again, and I don't want to have not chosen her when that happens.
Previous pool winners are Elicia Chamberlin in 2006 (Close/Hooks), Professor Jeff and Amy tied in 2007 (O'Dorney and Thomas/Horton), KJ in 2008 (Mishra/K Shivashankar), Cagey (K Shivashankar/Pastapur) in 2009, Bob Loblaw/Jenn tied in 2010 (Veeramani and Chemudupaty/Denniss); 2011's winner was Nupur Lala (the Roy/Ye Keystone combo); Bobby in 2012 (Nandipati/Mahankali); Sara Miller in 2013 (Mahankali/Sivakumar), Bobby again in 2014 (Venkatachalam/Hathwar), and Adam C in 2015 (Venkatachalam/Shafer-Ray).