OXON HILL, MD.: A dozen of the nation’s best young spellers were competing Thursday night for the title of Scripps National Spelling Bee champion, with a Northeast Ohio competitor eliminated after the field was narrowed to four.
The contestant, Ashwin Veeramani, 14, of North Royalton, hails from an accomplished family; his sister, Anamika, won the bee in 2010.
Other participants in the finals include last year’s third-place finisher, 14-year-old Sriram Hathwar of Corning, N.Y.
He correctly spelled “detraque,” which means deranged or psychopathic, in the opening round of the finals.
Sriram was the only repeat finalist and had the highest score in this year’s preliminary and semifinal rounds.
Vanya Shivashankar, a three-time finalist whose older sister won the bee in 2009, was bounced after Thursday’s semifinal round. Vanya, a 12-year-old seventh-grader from Olathe, Kan., spelled two words correctly onstage with her usual aplomb, but she did not score highly enough on two computerized spelling and vocabulary tests to advance.
Another former finalist, Syamantak Payra of Friendswood, Texas, misspelled “circumforaneous,” which means “wandering from place to place,” and saw his final appearance in the bee end with the dreaded ringing of a bell.
The spellers were competing for more than $33,000 in prizes.