Karthik Nemmani, 14, wins National Spelling Bee

April FrancisJun 02, 2018

In the first round of ESPN-televised spelling Thursday night, almost half of the finalists misspelled their words, including several crowd favourites such as Tara Singh, a 13-year-old from Kentucky who was competing at her fifth and final national bee.

One of the words Smith spelled correctly earlier Thursday night was thymiaterion, defined as a vessel used by ancient Greeks to burn incense, according to the Scripps National Spelling Bee website. The event started Tuesday with 515 spellers, ages 8 to 15. The spellers came from all over the United States, plus one from Canada. These are the words people most often asked Google for help in spelling.

After receiving his trophy on stage, the eighth-grader said he felt "really happy".

The victor of the spelling bee receives more than $40,000 in prize money.

But 12-year-old Naysa blinked immediately, mixing up the single and double "s" in the German-derived word "Bewusstseinslage" - a state of consciousness or a feeling devoid of sensory components - and 14-year-old Karthik Nemmani seized an opportunity that he wouldn't have had before this year.

After Sravanth Malla, 14, of Haverstraw, N.Y., misspelled "cento", the Bee was down to its final five competitors in round 12 of the competition overall. But then the three-time Missoula County spelling bee champion will once again hit the books. (Bee rules state that no more than 50 contestants can advance to the finals.) The new wild-card programme paid off for a number of spellers: Of the 41 finalists, 16 had qualified through RSVBee, and four of those contestants moved on to the prime-time finals.

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The past 13 champions and 18 of the last 22 have been Indian-American, and that trend could easily continue.

Raghav's father, Hari Dhandi, said on Wednesday that while Raghav was disappointed in this year's outcome, he was already looking forward to next year.

"He just really wanted to get it", he said. She first competed in the bee as a cherubic 9-year-old.

Chillicothe's Nilla Rajan missed the word popliteal (of or relating to the back part of the leg behind the knee joint) in the fifth round after correctly spelling primavera (served with a mixture of fresh vegetables) in Thursday's initial onstage round.

"She was just as graceful as she could be", bee program manager Corrie Loeffler said.

Delmarva had two local spellers make it as far as round three: Ava Camille Bautista from Wicomico Middle School and James Gordy from Somerset Intermediate School. Those spellers remained flawless for a round before Navneeth Murali, 12, of Edison, N.J., spelled incorrectly "gelinotte".

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