Speller falters, could still place

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Local spelling champ Rachael Cundey needs a solid outing Wednesday in the preliminary rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee to advance to Thursday's semifinals.

Local spelling champ Rachael Cundey needs a solid outing Wednesday in the preliminary rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee to advance to Thursday's semifinals.  Jim Blaylock/File
Jim Blaylock/File
Local spelling champ Rachael Cundey needs a solid outing Wednesday in the preliminary rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee to advance to Thursday's semifinals.

The 12-year-old misspelled six of 25 words in a written test administered Tuesday during the first round of the contest.

Tammy Cundey, Rachael's mother, said the girl stumbled on such words as pinealectomy -- surgical removal of the pineal gland -- and acetarious -- describing plants used in salads.

"At first she was upset," Tammy said of Rachael's reaction to her first-round results. "Now, though, I think she just wants to try and focus on doing well."

Bee officials use scores from the written test and oral exams given during preliminary rounds to determine the approximately 50 qualifiers for the semifinals.

ESPN3.com will have live coverage of the preliminary rounds from 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

Rachael is scheduled to compete from 8-10 a.m. and 1:15-3:30 p.m.

Live coverage of the semifinals will be on ESPN from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. On the same network, the finals will air from 8:30-10 p.m. Thursday.

A rising seventh-grader at Lakeside Middle School, Rachael is one of just 17 contestants in this year's spelling bee to compete for a third time. She never has made it to the semifinals at the national bee.

Rachael first won the Columbia County Spelling Bee as a fourth-grader, making her the youngest champion in the school system's history.

Round One Test: Correct Spellings

1. fourteen

2. drowsy

3. wasteland

4. secrecy

5. generate

6. normalize

7. youthquake

8. unswerving

9. remembrance

10. electromagnetic

11. appointee

12. oracular

13. theatricality

14. benediction

15. quietive

16. jiggety

17. infobahn

18. calenture

19. bonobo

20. pinealectomy

21. Kafkaesque

22. monodomous

23. vitelline

24. acetarious

25. hukilau

Did you know?

- Rachael Cundey is one of two contestants from Georgia. There are six from South Carolina.

- Spellers range in age from 8 to 15 years old, but 82 percent are 12 to 14. The youngest is 8-year-old Ethan Ruggeri, of Locust Grove, Va.

- This year's 275 competitors are 50.2 percent boys and 49.8 percent girls.

- Among this year's spellers, math is most frequently cited as a favorite subject. The spellers' favorite words include tchotchke, pneumonoultramicroscop-icsilicovolcanoconiosis and weissnichtwo.

Source: www.spellingbee.com


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