Paul Loeffler named Laura Newcombe, Joanna Ye, and Nicholas Rushlow as this year’s bee favorites at the start of the ESPN broadcast. However, there are many strong competitors today who will contribute to the intensity, unpredictability, intrigue of the bee.
Speller No. 18, Snigdha Nandipati, was the first speller to face the cameras today. Her correct spelling put a positive start to the day. Next up were Canadian spellers Laura Newcombe and Veronica Penny, who both returned to their seats victoriously.
David Phan confidently stepped up to the microphone to receive the word deuteragonist. After asking a few questions, David went on to inquire about the Greek roots. Dr. Sietsema replied “yes” to both of his enquiries. He appears a formidable contender, and it doesn’t look like he will be missing a Greek word this year! David missed bilophodont in 2010 after replacing the second ‘o’ with a ‘y’ but now seems very strong in his knowledge of Greek roots.
Claire Zuo, who beat Vaidya Govindarajan (a Scripps semifinalist from last year)at their regional bee, spelled ovidian quickly without much ado.
Rob Stone replaces Erin Andrews!!
Unfortunately, Emily Keaton is the first one to misspell this round. She tripped up on sciamachy, a word meaning ‘fighting with the shadow’. Unfamiliar with the first root (Greek skia meaning ‘shadow’), Emily merely skipped the ‘c.’ It was heartbreaking to see the disappointed look on her face when Mrs. Brooks, the Head Judge, regrettably rang the bell. However, she has two more years of eligibility remaining.
Another contender who appeared very familiar with roots is Lily Jordan from Maine. She did not hesitate to confirm the roots of thanatophidia with Dr. Sietsema. The spellers this year have shown more strength in their knowledge of roots than they have in previous years. Spellers Surjo Bandyopadhyay, Anja Beth Swoap, and Nabeel Rahman also made root word enquiries which helped them in spelling their words correctly.
Despite seeming a bit nervous on stage, Sriram tackled his word, mnestic, after providing the root (Greek mneme meaning memory). Arvind Mahankali quickly spelled chresard and proceeded to skip back to his seat triumphantly.
Nicholas Rushlow smiles as Dr. Bailly pronounces devoir. Ironically, his first word on ESPN last year was devant, the word which also knocked him out of the 2010 bee. Of course, Nicholas spelled this word with ease.
Joanna Ye breezed through her word, brachygraphy, but not before having a good chuckle at the comical sentence Dr. Bailly provided for the word. Sukanya Roy returned to her seat after undertaking the word hesthogenous.
Samuel Estep from Barryville, Virginia stepped up to spell withernam. You might recognize his sister, Marissa Estep, from the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee. She was unable to pronounce the word echt accurately at first and it took a lot of effort from Dr. Bailly (he stood up in his seat and leaned forward) to get her to understand the word. After realizing what the word actually was, Marissa triumphantly smiled and correctly spelled the word.
All in all, this round rolled through pretty smoothly. Only 6 spellers were eliminated and 35 spellers advance to the 5th round.