Meet the 5 Triangle students who hope to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee for NC
Five Triangle students will compete in the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
This year’s competition is drawing 231 spellers from all 50 states and around the world to Maryland. Spellers who make it through the grueling opening rounds will compete in primetime in the semifinals and finals.
North Carolina has eight spellers in this year’s Bee, including two from Wake County and one each from Harnett, Johnston and Orange counties. No one from the Tarheel State has won the Bee since 1970.
Here’s a look at the five Triangle Bee participants, based on their bios:
Isaiah Henry, 11, is a fifth-grade student at Grady A. Brown Elementary School in Hillsborough. Isaiah is rarely without a book in his hands. If he is not reading, he is playing video games, exploring the woods behind his house, building with LEGOs or playing board games with his family. He loves to help his parents with their chickens or do yard and garden work outside. He plays soccer with a local youth league and generally plays the position of striker.
Reyansh Joshi, 11, is a fifth-grade student at Mills Park Elementary School in Cary. Reyansh loves playing the piano and has been learning since the age of four. Reyansh enjoys drawing. It is his favorite way of relaxing. Reyansh earned his first degree black belt in tae kwon do before he turned 10 and is continuing to train for his second degree black belt. Mathematics is Reyansh’s favorite subject — he loves challenging math problems and takes advanced math classes outside of school.
Ananya Rao Prassanna
Ananya Rao Prassanna, 12, is a sixth-grade student at Davis Drive Middle School in Cary. Ananya Rao enjoys singing, playing the piano, chatting with friends, reading, kathak (an Indian classical dance) and drawing. She is also part of her school’s debate club and is a member of the student council. In her free time, she likes writing poems and creating stories.
Ananya Rao tied for 163rd in the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee. She’s among 49 spellers who competed in prior national competitions.
LIla Rechel, 13, is a seventh-grade student at Coats Erwin Middle School in Dunn. Lila enjoys baking, playing the piano and flute, drawing, writing and reading. During the school year, she participates in MATHCOUNTS, Battle of the Books, Honor Society Club and band. In the summer, she volunteers at her local library. Lila also loves playing with her mini Aussie puppy and Ragamuffin cat.
Olivia Tolentino, 14, is an eighth-grade student at Cleveland Middle School in Johnston County. Olivia participates in many school and community activities. These activities include MATHCOUNTS competitions, musical theater productions, the Clayton Theatricals chorus group, student government, the Young Scientist competition and All-County chorus. Olivia also enjoys playing the piano and competing in volleyball. She loves playing games with her family and friends, especially ones that involve problem solving and challenges.
How to watch
Ion Plus (ionplustv.com) will stream the preliminary rounds on Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and the quarterfinals on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Ion Channel will air the semifinals on Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and the finals on Thursday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.