VERY WELL. IF THAT IS THE WAY THE WINDS ARE BLOWING, LET NO ONE SAY THAT I ALSO DO NOT BLOW: Okay, we'll try to blog the Bee here (at least) one more time. Let's have the AP's Ben Nuckols set the table for what the modern Bee is:
To the fans watching on ESPN, Nihar Janga’s win last year in the Scripps National Spelling Bee was a shock: He was only 11 years old, a fifth-grader appearing in the bee for the first time, competing against 8th-graders with deep voices and facial hair.
To the tightknit community of spellers and ex-spellers who track performances leading up to the bee, Nihar was something else: a seasoned competitor with an impressive resume and a threat to win it all.
As the bee has become increasingly difficult, spellers are less likely to come out of nowhere and hoist the trophy. There’s more information available about kids in the bee, and champion spellers have increasingly fit a familiar profile. For them, the bee is an all-consuming, year-round pursuit....
For this year’s bee, which starts Tuesday, three spellers are consensus favorites: Shourav Dasari, a past North South Foundation and South Asian Spelling Bee champion whose older sister came close several times; Siyona Mishra, who won last year’s South Asian bee and finished 9th in her only National Spelling Bee appearance; and Tejas Muthusamy, who’s making his fourth appearance, with two previous top-10 finishes.