Balogun advances to fifth round at national spelling bee

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Lima’s entry into the Scripps National Spelling Bee made it to the fifth round and finished 46th overall Wednesday.

Opemipo Balogun, 13, finished in 46th place after successfully spelling “sclaff,” “floccillation” and “sanidine,” according to the bee’s website. Balogun, who earned a trip to the national event by winning The Lima News’ regional spelling bee, also successfully gave infallibility as a synonym for inerrancy in the second round.

Ope, as her friends and family call her, missed her question in the fifth round, “What is conscription?” She answered it was “the printing of an alternate currency,” compared to the proper definition of “compulsory enrollment into the armed forces.”

Balogun, who recently finished her eighth-grade year at Shawnee Middle School, was back at the national bee in the Washington, D.C., area for the second year in a row. She finished tied for 141st place in 2023.

Balogun was one of six Ohioans to make it to the quarterfinals, out of 17 Ohioans at the bee and 245 spellers overall.

The semifinals for the spelling bee airs starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday on the ION television network. The national spelling bee started in 1925, and it uses words from the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.