Thirty-five-year-old cardiovascular surgeon Rachael Cundey of Evans today won her third national spelling bee in her 26th year of competition, besting the other 10,521 holograms on stage.
– What you might have read someday in the future if there was no age limit on the national spelling bee
As it is, 14-year-old Rachael Cundey is being forced into early retirement.
The rising Lakeside High School freshman may have stumbled on the word “calotte” (a brimless cap) in the semifinals of this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. But what has really tripped her up is time. Eighth-grade graduates on or before Feb. 1 of the bee year become ineligible.
She wasn’t cheated, though, even by Father Time. She managed to wring everything possible out of her eligibility – with The Chronicle sending her to the national bee five times.
She was one of only two of this year’s 281 spellers to make it there all five years. She and her family have now been to the nation’s capital so many times they’ve probably got Secret Service code names.
She capped off – calotted off? – her incredible spelling career with the semifinal this year and a 10th-place finish last year.
Now someone else from the area will have to try to follow her act, as she follows her dreams toward a second career – after her retirement as an