Maine State Spelling Bee champion Sebastian Shields, a seventh-grader at Saco Middle School, made it through the third round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Wednesday but was not among the spellers who advanced to the finals.

Thursday’s finals consisted of the 50 competitors who had the highest scores on Monday’s preliminary, 26-question written test and also spelled their words correctly in the second rounds and third rounds.

Shields, 12, left last Friday for National Harbor, Maryland – the site of the national bee – after receiving a rousing sendoff from his middle school classmates.

Shields won the right to represent Maine in the National Spelling Bee after outlasting 14 competitors in March’s Maine State Spelling Bee. His victory ended a five-year run of eighth-grade winners that began with Lucy Tumavicus of Portland in 2014.

According to Shields’ profile, posted on the Spelling Bee website, his great-grandmother, Vivian Bremer, won the Michigan state spelling bee in 1926. Shields correctly spelled vice versa and savagery before being eliminated.

He could not be reached to comment on his experience on Thursday.

A total of 565 kids came from around the country and world to compete in the national spelling bee, which began Tuesday.

Correction: This story was updated at 4:23 p.m. Friday, May 31, 2019 to correct why Sebastian was not among the final spellers.


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