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Zaila Avant-garde breezes to National Spelling Bee win

Photo: Scripps National Spelling Bee
Photo: Scripps National Spelling Bee

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Zaila Avant-garde breezed to the championship at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The 14-year-old from Harvey, Lousiana, didn't show much stress on stage and only struggled with one word.

She is the first African American winner of the bee and only the second Black champion in the bee's 96-year-history.

Zaila has described spelling as a side hobby, although she routinely practiced for seven hours a day.

She is a basketball prodigy who hopes to play in the WNBA and holds three Guinness world records for dribbling multiple balls simultaneously.

Zaila twirled and leaped with excitement after spelling the winning word, “murraya,” a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.