Spellers square off for National title - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Spellers square off for National title

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OXON HILL, Md. - The 85th National Spelling Bee is under way.         

Kevin Lazenby, 13, of Opelika, Alabama stepped to the microphone Wednesday morning and correctly spelled "witticism."      

The 278 contestants qualified for the Scripps National Spelling Bee by winning local and regional competitions. Each participant gets the opportunity to spell two words during the preliminary rounds. Their scores will be combined with scores from a 50-word computer test to determine the field of 50 semifinalists.         

This year's national spelling bee includes the youngest speller ever. Lori Anne Madison of Lake Ridge, Virginia is six-years-old. Three of last year's finalists are back for another try, and two spellers made the bee for the fifth straight year.