NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (AP) -- Forty-one youngsters have advanced to the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The 41 youths had the highest scores after Wednesday's early rounds.
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The semifinals take place Thursday morning. The finals will be held Thursday night, broadcast in prime time for the sixth consecutive year.
The winner will receive more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.
The top returning finishers from last year are still in the running. Joanna Ye is a 14-year-old eighth grader from Carlisle, Pa., who tied for fifth place last year.
Laura Newcombe, a 12-year-old eighth grader from Toronto, also tied for fifth in 2010. She is trying to become the first Canadian to win the bee.