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2023 Treasure State Spelling Bee champion headed to Scripps National Spelling Bee

Posted at 8:30 AM, May 23, 2023

HELENA — An 8th-grade student from Clancy Elementary will be headed to the Scripps National Spelling Bee after taking home 1st place at the 2023 Treasure State Spelling Bee.

"Polysemy" is the word that put Natalie Russ into 1st place at the 2023 Treasure State Spelling Bee on March 11.

“Yeah, I read a lot. I’d say that's probably the main reason why I'm good at spelling, just ‘cause reading’s a huge part of that I think,” says Russ.

In a few short days, Russ will be missing the last days of 8th grade in order to head to Maryland, just outside Washington DC, for the Scripps National Spelling Bee, as well as some sightseeing.

“Yeah, I'm really excited. I've never gone to Washington DC before and we’re planning to do a lot of sightseeing and stuff,” says Russ.

She will be representing the treasure state, competing against over 230 spellers from around the country and the world, also getting the chance to meet with Senator Steve Daines while over at the nation's capital.

And Russ been studying hard to get ready.

“I study the Scripps Words of the Champions list quite a bit. I like to study root words. That's always good,” says Russ.

Russ says she’s excited to show what she’s got. And MTN thought it would be fun to test her knowledge against a few harder-to-spell words, all of which she got correct. She even got the word onomatopoeia on the first try, which, if you’ve ever tried to spell, is a very difficult word to get on the first go ‘round.