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No Angelenos in National Spelling Bee semifinals


Los Angeles will not have a local to root for as the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee kicks off Thursday morning near the nation’s capital.

In fact, California qualified just three of its 16 spellers into the high-pressure, nationally televised second day of competition.

Imperial’s Apolonia Gardner, 14, and San Diego’s Snigdha Nandipati, 13, were still standing after scoring in the Top 50 on a computer test and onstage preliminary rounds. Siddharth Kulkarni, 13, of San Jose also remains in competition.

Gardner, however, misspelled phalarope in the fourth round to become the first speller eliminated Thursday. 

Lori Anne Madison, a 6-year-old from Virginia, was among the casualties of the first round. Bee director Paige Kimble said Lori Anne was just four points away from qualifying for the semifinals, according a tweet from event officials.

According to that Twitter account, Lori Anne spoke to reporters after learning her fate and said she knew the word she missed, ingluvies, but said she was tired from her wait on stage.

The winner of Thursday’s championship round will take home prizes including $30,000 in cash and a print edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

And yet, for as good as the competitors are at spelling words, the Bee’s official website reports that math is named as a favorite subject by 110 of this year's 278 spellers. Science is the next most popular subject, and it was not clear how far down the list English/language arts fell.

The spellers also reported humuhumunukunukuapuaa as among their favorite words. The Hawaiian word with no fewer than 11 syllables is a noun referring to “a small Hawaiian triggerfish.”  


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 -- Matt Stevens


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