The national bee won't be the first time Elizabeth has faced stiff competition. She has competed in school and county spelling bees since she was in fourth grade, but this year was the first time she made it to the Gazette-Mail Regional Spelling Bee.
"We have some tough spellers in Raleigh County," she said.
No kidding. Raleigh County students have taken the championship in seven of the last 10 regional bees. Elizabeth placed third in Raleigh County's bee last year behind her brother, who was runner-up. The county's winner, Erin Mills, went on to win the 2010 regional bee. Matthew also was eligible to compete and placed second.
Now it's Elizabeth's turn in the national spotlight. Although she's nervous about the competition, she said she still would enjoy her trip.
"I'm just looking forward to the experience of going to D.C.," she said.
Bee organizers have planned a Memorial Day cookout for spellers and their families on Monday. Contestants will tour the nation's capital on Friday.
"And, of course, there's an awards ceremony," Elizabeth said.
Elizabeth is involved in dance and martial arts and is a member of her school's 4-H club and student council. She's a straight-A student, and her favorite subjects are math and science. She plays piano and violin, and she recently made her stage debut with a small part in a school play.
"I just did it for fun. It's called 'After Hours.' It's about mannequins coming to life," she said.
Spellers aren't allowed to compete in regional bees if they've previously won the national competition. Elizabeth is hoping to place first next week, but if she doesn't, she'll definitely try to make the regional bee next year.
"You learn so many new things, experience so many new experiences. You get to meet a lot of new people and a lot of new words," she said.
The national bee begins Monday with a written test, the first round of competition.
Rounds two and three begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday. They will be televised on ESPN3. The bee's semifinal rounds will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday and will be shown on ESPN.
The championship finals also will be shown on ESPN starting at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
Reach Zack Harold at zack.har...@dailymail.com or 304-348-7939.