Local spelling star Erik Williams to compete in quarterfinals of Scripps National Spelling Bee

In March, Erik Williams won his third straight First Coast Spelling Bee. (WJXT)

Local spelling star Erik Williams will compete in the quarterfinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Tuesday.

He advanced Saturday after answering all three of his questions correctly in the preliminaries.

In round one, he was asked to spell “mangonel.” That’s a military device for throwing stones.

In round two, he gave the correct definition for “philharmonic,” a musical concert or musical organization.

And in round three, he correctly spelled “Winnebago.”

Williams is a three-time champion of the First Coast Spelling Bee. He held onto the crown in March. The winning word in that competition was “abience,” which Merriam-Webster defines as “a tendency to withdraw from a stimulus object or situation.”

Williams tied for 51st place in the 2019 National Spelling Bee.

The event was canceled last year -- for the first time since World War II -- because of the pandemic.

This year’s quarterfinals air Tuesday on ESPN 3. The semifinals are June 27 on ESPN 2. And the finals are scheduled for July 8 on ESPN 2.

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