Holiday questions reduce the spelling of bee to 3 letters: A, B or C

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) – The Scripps National Spelling Bee went smoothly on the second day of its first all-personal competition in three years. It then evolved into SAT.

On stage during the semifinals on Wednesday, an element of chance was introduced into the venerable bee, forcing the authors to demonstrate a different set of skills and knocking out some of the bee’s most experienced competitors.

Vivinsha Vedura and Roy Seligman, who finished fourth in last year’s bee: are gone. Baby Vupala and Yash Schelar, co-champions of this year’s online SpellPundit bee at expert level: are also gone. Everyone refused to shoot in the final on Thursday without writing a single word incorrectly.

“I thought it was tragic,” said Grace Walters, coach of several previous Scripps champions.

Walters ’only student this year, four-time participant Harry Bee Logan, went through a round of vocabulary and became one of the top ten finalists. Sahasrad Satish, Ekansh Rostogi, Vikram Raju, Alia Alpert, Abhilash Patel, Sahana Shrikat, Kirsten Santos, Nitsa Katiravan, Vihaan Sibal, Shijai Sivakumar and Saharsha Vupala, Diti’s brother, will appear on the stage on Thursday evening.

Many vocabulary authors have multiple-word questions deprived of the opportunity to use skills they have honed over the years of study: asking questions to judges to help put words together; root detection; the conclusion that a vowel makes a terrible sound “uh” is known as a seam.

“Words that are sometimes asked are not necessarily based on roots or easy to decipher, so in this case we are talking about which children are natural readers and have great cultural capital, and which children are not so culturally perfect,” he said. Scott Roemer, a former speler who coached 21 competitors this year, including Saharsha and Child. “Some words you pick up just by reading newspapers, reading certain books, and not necessarily guessing them.”

Yash was knocked out because of “Stockholm Syndrome,” a phrase that is impossible to decipher with the help of spelling knowledge of how sounds are constructed in different languages. Vivinsha didn’t know that “stew” was a sauce. The child got “ergogenic”, and Roy’s attempt to become the first champion from the Bahamas ended when he was asked to describe “rumbatic”.

“With the meaning of the word, it’s a fool,” said Arthur Seligman, Roy’s father. “We know what ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ means, but 11 or 12 years old?”

Chris Dominic, an exciting 14-year-old from Stratters, Ohio, illustrated the required quality of vocabulary when given a “leitmotif” and exclaimed, “I know what it is!”

A reliable narrator, Chris didn’t go through the next round of spelling. He was given “sirtaki” – a Greek dance – and said, “Okay, I think I’m going to go out on this one.” And he did, guessing that the word started with “c”.

“Goodbye, cruel world,” Chris said when he heard the bell.

Vocabulary has long been part of the bee, but only on written tests. New Bee CEO J. Michael Durnill, who took office in 2021, added it to the spelling audience live when the test became impractical during last year’s largely virtual competition, modified by the pandemic.

“It’s Scripps’ way to ensure that competition doesn’t turn into memorizing words like code, ”Walters said. “Introducing a segment of vocabulary, it almost makes you get closer to the language, because you have to know what those words mean.”

Although the authors had to answer a vocabulary question during previous rounds on Tuesday, it was sandwiched between two words they had to write. Thus, for the first time in the semifinals, so many authors – 31 at the beginning of the vocabulary round – had to stand in front of a microphone and choose one of three possible answers on the screen in front of them.

Some immediately knew the answers. Some did not, and had to guess – A, B or C. And that’s it.

Vikhan, a 13-year-old teenager from McGregor, Texas, who is in his finals for the second time, was asked to outline “cinnabar,” and he noted that each multiple-choice option he was given was a color. He was shocked to see Roy being knocked out.

“I know he has a very strong spelling. Probably stronger than me, ”Vihaan said.

Harini, a 14-year-old girl from San Antonio, Texas, was one of the spellcasters who remained calm all the time, even though Jacques Bai’s proponent made a rare move, initially leaving the syllable with “quinquefoliolate,” the word that led her to finals.

Like her language skills, Harini puts a lot of work into her stage syndrome.

“Even though I feel stressed in moments that lead to getting my word out as soon as I get my word out, I just try to involve myself in a thought process where I can really feel at ease.” she said.

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Follow Ben Nachols at https://twitter.com/APBenNuckols

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