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Evans' Rachael Cundey eliminated in national spelling bee semifinals

Thursday, May 30, 2013 9:30 PM
Last updated Friday, May 31, 2013 1:54 AM
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Rachael Cundey approached the summit of all spelling bees with her fifth trip to the national contest this week, but she never made it to the top.

Rachael Cundey spells "recusancy" in the Scripps National Spelling Bee semifinals. She was eliminated by her next word.  CLIFF OWEN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
CLIFF OWEN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Rachael Cundey spells "recusancy" in the Scripps National Spelling Bee semifinals. She was eliminated by her next word.

Rachael tripped on the word “calotte,” which means a small, brimless cap, in the semifinal rounds Thursday, falling out of contention for the Scripps National Spel­ling Bee title.

“I wasn’t sure I knew how to spell it,” she said by telephone. “I know how to spell it now.”

Rachael, who will be a freshman at Lakeside High School, was in her final year of eligibility for the national bee and was one of only two contenders this year to make it to Washington, D.C., in all five years of eligibility. She finished tied for 10th last year.

Rachael advanced to the two-round semifinals Thursday. She spelled “recusancy” (refusal to obey authority) correctly, advancing to Round 6 with 31 others. The next round proved to be more difficult, as five of the first nine spellers were eliminated, including Rachael.

When the bell rang to signal her elimination, “I was OK,” she said. “I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to spell it correctly, so it wasn’t a big surprise.”

Eliminated contestants are directed off the stage to an area where they wait for their parents, and Rachael said an ESPN camera followed her as she made her exit.

“It was OK,” she said. “It would have been uncomfortable if I had been crying or something.”

She said she talked to her father, grandparents and friends to deliver the news. She and her mother plan to take a tour of the capital and attend the awards banquet today.

THE LAST WORD

calotte \kә lät´\ n. a small, brimless cap

THE WINNER

Arvind Mahankali correctly spelled knaidel to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md. Arvind won $30,000 in cash and prizes. The 13-year-old from Bayside Hills, N.Y., finished third in 2011 and 2012.

The 11 finalists advanced from a field of 281 contenders based on a combination of performance onstage and performance on a computerized spelling and vocabulary test.

NOTABLE WORDS

melocoton \melәkә¦tän\ n.
a peach grafted on a quince root stalk

Misspelled by Grace Remmer

The 14-year-old from St. Augustine, Fla., who spells quickly when she knows a word, asked for the definition twice and the etymology twice. She was off by two letters, and that was the end of her fourth and final national bee.

malacophilous \mal´ә ko fil uh s\ n.
adapted to pollination by snails

Spelled by Amber Born

“I don’t know if that’s possible,” said the 14-year-old aspiring comedy writer from Marblehead, Mass. After spelling the word correctly, she leapt for joy.

cyanope \´siә,nop\ adj.
a person with fair hair and brown eyes

Misspelled by Caleb Miller

The 13-year-old from Calhoun, La., asked whether it came from the Greek word “ops,” meaning eye. Told yes, he responded, “Thank goodness.” He still misspelled the word. Told the spelling, he said, “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.”

– From wire reports

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