Wed. 1:46pm: National bee under way

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) – The National Spelling Bee opened with “glasnost” and was soon followed by “perestroika” – a fascinating choice of words for a group of youngsters born long after the heyday of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Speller No. 1 – Meghana Giri of Anniston, Ala. – handled the Cold War-era word “glasnost” without a hitch this morning at the start of the onstage rounds of the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Meghana was the first of 281 youngsters taking a turn at the microphone in the competition for the title of top speller in the English language. Today’s rounds were to be combined with scores from a computer test to determine the semifinalists. The test included a section on vocabulary for the first time in the bee’s history.

Among those competing are Rebekah Stanhope from Kinsman and Max Lee from Canfield.

Catch up on the action at ESPN2 from 2 to 5 p.m. today, after which the finalist will be announced.

The finals will be broadcast live from 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday. The winner will take home more than $30,000 in cash and prizes.