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Plano Super Speller Finishes National Bee Inside Top Ten


It took ten rounds to stump Plano eighth grader Chetan Reddy. He had no trouble in the first few rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee championship final, but in Round 10, the word kaburi (a type of land crab) tripped him up. He exited the stage to a standing ovation.

Chetan finished the Bee tied for seventh place. Arvind Mahankali from New York won the title with the word knaidel.

Update, Thursday 4:15 p.m.: Plano eighth grader Chetan Reddy is one of the best 11 spellers at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. He breezed through both semifinal rounds, reciting graminivorous and capitatim without blinking an eye.

Only 18 spellers were left after the semis and the field was narrowed to 11 for the finals. That means Chetan scored high enough on the semifinal computerized spelling and vocabulary tests to qualify for primetime.

He’ll get his chance to spell for the big trophy tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPN. This is Chetan’s first time making the finals. He’s been to the Bee four times and the semifinals three times before.

Wednesday, 5:15 p.m.: For the third time, Plano’s Chetan Reddy has been named a semifinalist in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. This is the fourth year running that the Rice Middle School student has competed in the national contest.

Chetan survived both rounds of live spelling Wednesday. He was vaulted into the top 41 after scores from computerized tests taken Tuesday were tabulated. They tested spelling and definitions.

Kerri Lu from Wichita Falls and Ansun Sujoe from Keller made it through both rounds of live spelling Wednesday, but were not named semifinalists.

The semi-finals are live on ESPN2 Thursday at 1 p.m. central. The finals will take place Thursday night.

Wednesday, 3:45 p.m.: All three North Texas contestants in the National Bee made it through Round 3.

Chetan Reddy spelled the French word bruisewort correctly. Ansun Sujoe had no problem with the Greek word adenoidal. Kerri Lu breezed through the spelling of tubulifloral.

Semifinalists will be announced later today.

If they hadn’t already eaten before this round of live spelling, spectators probably felt their stomachs growl. Words pertaining to food including moussaka, tiramisu, bruschetta and jicama were prevalent in Round 3.

Speller 37, Lee Wall from Florida, correctly spelled myocarditis in Round 3 which Chetan has said is his favorite word. Speller 122, Neha Seshadri from Michigan, correctly spelled harfang in Round 3. That’s one of Kerri Lu’s favorite words. You can hear Chetan and Kerri spell them both here.

Chetan is a four-time Scripps competitor. Discover how he prepared for his final year of eligibility here.

Our Original Post: All three North Texas spellers made it through the first round of on-stage spelling. Wednesday morning’s competition was technically the second of three preliminary rounds. Students took computerized tests yesterday and will spell again on stage this afternoon.

In Round 2, Plano’s Chetan Reddy, speller 238, was given the Hindi and Urdu word mahout.

Keller’s Ansun Sujoe, speller 240, was given the German word echt. He and the audience both chuckled at the word’s simple and guttural pronunciation.

Wichita Falls’ Kerri Lu, speller 252, was asked to spell the German word comandante.

Of this year’s 281 competitors, 266 spelled correctly during Round 2. The 15 that misspelled will not advance. Round 3 will stream live on ESPN 3 at 12:15 central time.

The words in this preliminary round were diverse in subject and language of origin. But the world of flora and fauna seemed particularly represented. Mistletoe, forsythia, bromeliad and edelweiss were all featured round two words.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.