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15 spellers remain at grueling National Spelling Bee

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/1/2017 By BEN NUCKOLS, Associated Press
Shourav Dasari, 14, from Spring, Texas, pauses before spelling his word during the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) © The Associated Press Shourav Dasari, 14, from Spring, Texas, pauses before spelling his word during the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Fifteen spellers have advanced to the primetime finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, where they'll test their knowledge of Webster's Unabridged dictionary.

Erin Howard, 12, from Huntsville, Ala., front row left, and Rohan Sachdev, 14, from Cary, N.C., front row right, and others, react when it is announced they will be in evening finals session of the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) © The Associated Press Erin Howard, 12, from Huntsville, Ala., front row left, and Rohan Sachdev, 14, from Cary, N.C., front row right, and others, react when it is announced they will be in evening finals session of the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Scripps usually takes about 10 spellers to the final rounds, but the competition was paused with 15 kids left after more than four grueling hours on stage Thursday.

Alice Liu, 10, from Chesterfield, Mo., smiles before spelling her word during the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) © The Associated Press Alice Liu, 10, from Chesterfield, Mo., smiles before spelling her word during the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

At stake is a trophy and more than $40,000 in cash and prizes. After three consecutive years of ties, the bee is trying to identify a sole champion this year by adding a tiebreaker test.

Saketh Sundar, 11, of Elkridge, Md., jumps up in the air after spelling his word correctly during the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, June 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) © The Associated Press Saketh Sundar, 11, of Elkridge, Md., jumps up in the air after spelling his word correctly during the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, June 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Among the finalists is Tejas Muthusamy of Glen Allen, Virginia, who had two previous top-10 finishes. Three other former top-10 spellers were eliminated.

Alex Iyer, 14, from San Antonio, Texas, reacts after spelling his word correctly during the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Alex Iyer, 14, from San Antonio, Texas, reacts after spelling his word correctly during the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
© The Associated Press
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