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5 students representing Minnesota at 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee

A Minnesota third-grader from Arden Hills is among the youngest competitors in this year's Bee.

WASHINGTON — Intense. Competitive. Nervewracking.

These are just some of the words one might use to describe the Scripps National Spelling Bee. And they're words that 231 very smart students competing in this year's Bee can probably spell, no problem.

When the 2023 Bee kicks off this week, the words will be much harder, but hopefully no match for the five students representing Minnesota.

Hailing from the small town of Staples to Fergus Falls and beyond, meet the local kids competing to hoist the Scripps Cup this year.

Vihaan Kapil

Credit: Scripps National Spelling Bee
Vihaan Kapil

Hometown: Arden Hills

School: Agamim Classical Academy

Grade: 3

Age: 9

Hobbies and interests: Vihaan's enjoys playing board games and drawing, and likes to learn about different languages. His favorite subject in school is science and according to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, is believed to be the youngest Minnesotan to ever make it to the competition.

Maximus Katsoulis

Credit: Scripps National Spelling Bee
Maximus Katsoulis

Hometown: Fergus Falls

School: Blackduck Public School

Grade: 8

Age: 14

Hobbies and interests: Maximus likes to watch YouTube and play games, and when he's around others is very loud and likes to make jokes. His dream job is to become a streamer or YouTuber and his favorite actor is Robert Downey, Jr.

Elijah Elledge

Credit: Scripps National Spelling Bee
Elijah Elledge

Hometown: North Mankato

School: Immanuel Lutheran School

Grade: 5

Age: 11

Hobbies and interests: Elijah plays multiple instruments, including the piano, bass guitar, saxophone and drums. He studies Spanish and Latin and enjoys watching and playing sports, especially basketball.

Roberto Villasboas

Credit: Scripps National Spelling Bee
Roberto Villasboas

Hometown: Rochester

School: St. Francis of Assisi School

Grade: 6

Age: 12

Hobbies and interests: Robert has lots of hobbies and interests, including rock climbing, reading, playing soccer and going on campouts with his Boy Scout troop. He's very interested in world geography and can name the capital cities of most of the countries in the world.

Will Rausch

Credit: Scripps National Spelling Bee
Will Rausch

Hometown: Staples

School: Royalton Middle School

Grade: 7

Age: 12

Hobbies and interests: Will likes to play percussion and video games. He enjoys playing sports with friends, so it's fitting that his favorite TV show is SportsCenter.

Minnesota's neighboring states are sending their own super-spelling representatives to the Bee; Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa are each sending one speller. Three students will represent Canada.

The Bee preliminaries begin on Tuesday, May 30 at 9 a.m. ET and continue until 7:30 p.m. on ION Plus. The quarterfinals and semifinals continue on Wednesday, May 30 before the finals air on Thursday, June 1 from 8-10 p.m. ET on ION Television, local channel 41-1.

You can also watch the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee live online.

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