NASHVILLE -- The Tennessee Titans hosted their 6th regional spelling bee at Nissan Stadium, with the top two spellers outlasting a competitive field for a chance to compete on a bigger stage.
On Saturday, champion Cross Burgess, who homeschools in Humboldt, and runner-up William Perez from Scales Elementary in Brentwood, were the last two standing. Burgess won with the word 'Medallion.'
The Titans Spelling Bee program covers 51 counties in middle and west Tennessee. Two online qualifying tests produced an initial pool of 50 contestants before a more difficult test narrowed the field from 50 to the final 10, eight of whom showed up to compete at Nissan Stadium.
Burgess and Perez will now advance to compete in the final rounds against top spellers from across the U.S. and globe at the the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The final rounds of this year's Bee will be hosted in person at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. The finals, featuring 10-12 accomplished spellers, will be broadcast live in primetime on ESPN2.
The 10 to 12 finalists who will travel to Orlando will have earned the right to compete in the finals by advancing through three levels of virtual competition: the preliminary, quarterfinal and semifinal segments.
This year, due to the global pandemic, the preliminaries, quarterfinals and semifinals will be held virtually in the weeks leading up to the July 8 finals and will be broadcast live on ESPN platforms. The semifinals are slated for June 27, and dates for the earlier virtual rounds of the competition will be announced this spring.
"Since its beginnings nearly 100 years ago, the Scripps National Spelling Bee and its spellers have inspired audiences across the globe with a compelling combination of academic excellence and engaging entertainment," said Adam Symson, president and chief executive officer of The E.W. Scripps Company. "Now, as the world continues to adapt to an ongoing pandemic, Scripps is committed to reimagining the beloved competition in a way that safely allows our exceptional spellers to continue this iconic tradition on the national stage."
About the Scripps National Spelling Bee:
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation's largest and longest-running educational program. The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.