Delmarva Spellers Make it to Round 3 in National Bee - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delmarva Spellers Make it to Round 3 in National Bee

Posted: May 31, 2018 4:12 AM Updated:
Local spellers Ava Camille Bautista and James Gordy Local spellers Ava Camille Bautista and James Gordy

OXON HILL, Md. (AP/WBOC)- After a longer build-up than usual, the dramatic final rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee get underway Thursday.

Forty-one spellers advanced to the finals out of a field of 516 - by far the largest in the 93-year history of the competition. Scripps started a wild-card program this year that created a path to nationals for spellers who didn't win their regional bees, and some of the finalists got to the bee that way.

The past 13 champions and 18 of the last 22 have been Indian-American, and that trend could easily continue. Most of the consensus favorites in this year's bee have Indian heritage, including Shruthika Padhy, who tied with two others for the best score on the test.

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. Gordy correctly spelled "cadre" in round two but misspelled "philistinism" in round three.

Bautista spelled her words correctly in rounds two and three, "clogwyn" and "wrangler," but her score in the preliminaries was not high enough to make the finals.

More than 500 spellers tested their skill in front of pronouncer Jacques Bailly or his backup, the Rev. Brian Sietsema, over two days of preliminary rounds. Nearly 200 misspelled words onstage.

Those who advanced to Thursday's final rounds got there by spelling two words correctly on stage over two days and faring well on a written spelling and vocabulary test - and usually by spending multiple hours a day studying at home to prepare.

One of the top scorers was Shruthika, a 12-year-old from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, who finished seventh in last year's bee and is considered one of the favorites this year. But even she got a few answers wrong.

"We thought it was an easy test," bee director Paige Kimble said. "We were wrong."



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