Oral rounds begin at Scripps National Spelling Bee

By the Associated Press | June 1, 2011 | 8:14 AM EDT

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (AP) — The first speller has stepped to the microphone at the 84th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Maryland.

Twelve-year-old Kevin Lazenby of Opelika, Ala., correctly spelled "dolorifuge" (doh-LOHR-uh-fyooj) to begin the third round of the competition Wednesday morning.

There are 275 spellers from across the United States and around the world competing to advance to Thursday's semifinals, followed by the finals Thursday night broadcast in primetime on network television.

The winner will get more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.