Grace Parrott of Ketchikan, and Daniel Doudnavo of Fairbanks placed high in this year's National Spelling Bee
01 June, 2018, 18:32
Reagan took second in the state contest, but she and Karrissa were invited to the national bee as part of a new Scripps Howard initiative created to "level the playing field, " Bee spokesperson Valerie Miller told USA Today.
Like Karthik, three other prime time finalists qualified through RSVBee while the competition featured 238 RSVBee spellers overall. The spellers came from all over the United States, plus one from Canada.
The 13-year-old eighth-grader at Jackson Memorial Middle School correctly spelled gradus (a dictionary of Greek or Latin phrases used as an aid in the writing of verse), chaudfroid (a type of jellied sauce) and cantal (a hard cheddar type cheese) in the earlier final rounds. "That's too much pressure".
The 14-year-old from McKinney, Texas, beat out 516 spellers this year, the highest number of competitors in the bee's decades-long history. As the judges of the Scripps National Spelling Bee explain, "in a competition where letters and words reign supreme, numbers define who advances to spell another day". That included Naysa and Nemmani; 14-year-old Sravanth Malla of NY; 12-year-old Shruthika Padhy of New Jersey; and 12-year-old Aisha Randhawa of California.
Paul Hamrick, 14, from Monterey, Calif., pauses as he spells a word correctly during the final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 31, 2018. They ranged in age from 11-14.
Nemmani's face broke into a broad smile when Jacques A. Bailly, the bee's official pronouncer, told him, "That is correct!" and confetti rained down on the stage.
But Karthik was gracious about his win, and said of Naysa, "She's a really, really good speller".
Despite their success, they were eliminated from the final round when judges were forced to narrow the pool of 321 spellers who had made it past Round 3 to no more than 50.
He said there were eight or nine words during the prime-time finals he didn't know - a rare admission for a national champion.
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