Watch Tampa student in Scripps National Spelling Bee finals tonight

Tampa Bay Times | Gabrielle Calise | May 30, 2024

A Tampa Bay area student is hoping for a W-I-N at the 96th Scripps National Spelling Bee finals tonight.

Bruhat Soma, a seventh grader at Turner/Bartels K-8 School in Tampa, will face off against seven other finalists in Maryland tonight. He is sponsored by the Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund. The Tampa Bay Rays hosted a regional spelling bee in February, according to ABC Action news.

Soma, 12, has competed twice before and will be representing St. Petersburg, according to his profile on Here are some other fun facts from the website: When he’s not putting together big words, Soma can be found devouring books, practicing his snare drum skills for the school band or playing badminton and Ping-Pong. He’s big LeBron James fan.

Soma will attempt to extend the Tampa Bay area’s winning streak. Palm Harbor University High School student Dev Shah emerged victorious in the 2023 National Spelling Bee. According to Times archives, he clinched the title with the word “psammophile,” which describes “an organism that prefers sandy soils.” Check out his guest column in the Tampa Bay Times last year.

ABC Action News reported that two other local competitors made it far in the competition: fifth-grader Amara Chepurin, of Lakewood Ranch Preparatory Academy, and eighth-grader Jordin Oremosu, of Lutz Preparatory School.

In 1999, Tampa’s Nupur Lala won the bee and went on to star in a documentary about the competition titled “Spellbound.”

Watch the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee

The competition takes place at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. It airs live from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight on ION. The channel is available free over the air and from most cable and satellite providers. ION is also found on streaming platforms including Tubi, the Roku Channel, Tablo TV, Freevee and YouTube TV.

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