Both boys said the support of their families has been key in their preparation for both the regional and national bees.
"At first I was kind of surprised. I didn't think I would make it. I thought I did pretty bad, but I guess not," Daniel said of qualifying for the national bee.
For Daniel, the best part of going to the next level is the added incentive to continue learning more about the Bible and memorizing verses. He was already reading the Bible chronologically and memorizing passages, but said the bee gives him even greater cause to memorize more.
He said sometimes it's hard to find time to prepare for the bee because of his schoolwork, piano lessons and swimming on the Hagerstown YMCA swim team, but somehow he's managing.
"My hope is just to glorify God. It's God who got me there," Daniel said.
Tristan said his parents quizzed him and his 10-year-old sister, who also participated in the Rockville bee, on their Bible knowledge after dinner during the summer. Now he juggles homework, piano and violin lessons, and playing on his school's soccer team, which means staying up late to study Bible verses for the national bee.
He's no newcomer to competitions, though. Tristan won the Washington County Spelling Bee when he was in sixth and seventh grades and finished second in eighth grade, he said. He also competed in the American Christian Schools International Spelling Bee, and placed first and second in the district bee. He also competed in two regional bees, but never got to the national level.
Tristan said studying God's word and spending time with his family as they helped him study were the best parts of the experience, so far.
"Studying the Bible and memorizing verses, so I can have it in my heart ... I'm going to try to do my best," said Tristan, who would like to finish in the Top 20.
For more information about the National Bible Bee, go to www.biblebee.org.