OXON HILL, Md. - Thirteen spellers have advanced to the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, including two Canadian contestants.

Among those still in contention are Laura Newcombe of Toronto and Veronica Penny of Rockland, Ont., just outside Ottawa.

The youngsters survived the semifinal round that began Thursday morning. They are scheduled to compete Thursday night in the finals, to be broadcast in prime time for the sixth straight year.

The winner receives more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.

The week began with 275 spellers. They were whittled down to 41 semifinalists.

With files from The Canadian Press