Nevada speller gets started at National Spelling Bee

On stage at the Scripps National Spelling Bee this morning in a hotel ballroom outside Washington D.C., seventh-grader Megan Allison Pineda of Reno correctly spelled "urbiculture." during preliminary round competition.

The 12-year-old Nevada champion seemed confident in spelling the word that means the "practices and problems peculiar to cities." She asked for its language of origin - Latin - and then its definition before spelling out  "u-r-b-i-c-u-l-t-u-r-e."

The Billinghurst Middle School student will face a second word this afternoon before learning if she advances to the semi-finals tomorrow at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in suburban Maryland.  The field of 278 spellers will be whittled down to about 50 based on today's performance and results from a written exam each student took on Tuesday.

The semi-finals will be broadcast on ESPN2.  The finals will be held tomorrow night, prime time, on ESPN.