8th-grader wins national spelling bee

Courtesy Google Trends

Karthik Nemmani, 14, from McKinney, Texas, smiles as he wins the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 31, 2018.

Third place contestant, Abhijay Kodali, is also from Texas.

Let's set the stage: Karthik had never been to the Spelling Bee before, making him a true outsider and elusive threat.

He said there were eight or nine words during the prime-time finals he didn't know - a rare admission for a national champion.

Nemmani correctly spelled "haecceitas" ("the status of being an individual or a particular nature") and sealed the deal with "koinonia" ("the Christian fellowship or body of believers").

Raghav, a seventh-grader at Main Street Middle School in Montpelier, first won his school's spelling bee, and then went on to compete with 28 others to win the Vermont state spelling bee, held in March at Saint Michael's College in Winooski. She first competed in the bee as a cherubic 9-year-old. In addition to the trophy, he gets more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.

There were a total of 516 children who qualified for the nationals this year.

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Karthik also used study materials compiled by two well-regarded former Scripps spellers and fellow Texans, Shobha Dasari and her younger brother, Shourav, who finished fourth past year and won almost every other bee he competed in.

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.

On Wednesday, he correctly spelled the word archaic to advance. She deserved the trophy as much as I did.

She said she struggled with the "ae" because that's not normally seen in German.

"I tried to take it in a good way", he said.

Karthik, for his part, took no pleasure in vanquishing a familiar foe. He correctly spelled "hypochondria" and "plangent" in Rounds 2 and 3.

A second New Jersey student, Navneeth Murali of Edison, made it to the finals and landed in fifth place after misspelling the word "gelinotte", which is a European woodland grouse.

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