North Texan’s National Spelling Bee run is over

Posted Wednesday, May. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Ansun Sujoe breezed through the preliminaries in Wednesday’s second day of competition at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Sixth-grader Ansun Sujoe spelled both echt and adenoidal correctly.

But the addition of vocabulary to this year’s bee tripped up Sujoe, who didn’t earn enough points to make it into today’s semifinals.

Heading into the preliminaries Wednesday, Ansun said he felt “really good,” thanks to the chocolate brownies he had the night before, but he was “definitely anxious.”

His parents were also nervous – his mother Angel wiped away tears of relief after he spelled his second word, quietly praying to herself.

Only 12 spellers would earn enough points to move to the championship round tonight. The winner will receive $30,000 in cash, a $2,500 savings bond and a trophy.

Using the back of his scorecard to trace the letters with his fingers, Sujoe took his time and asked for definitions and etymology before he rattled off his letters.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be here and we are so proud of him,” said Kathy Knowles, principal of Parkwood Hill Intermediate School, the school Ansun attends. She and two of Ansun’s teachers traveled from Texas to support him at the bee.

“Ansun is not just a brainiac … he’s an all-around neat young man,” she said, adding that he loves basketball and soccer, and plays three instruments in the school band.

Though Ansun didn’t make it through, “We’re OK,” Angel Bose said. “This is only his first time. He’ll be back next year.”

The spellers in the bee come from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, Defense Department schools, and the Bahamas, China, South Korea, Ghana, Canada and Jamaica.

Twelve semifinalists returned from last year – including New York City eighth grader Arvind Mahankali, who made it back for the fourth time. Vanya Shivashankar from Olathe, Kan., is another oft-seen face at the bee – and her older sister Kavya won the bee in 2009. They both have made it to semifinals as well.

There were some surprises. Speller No. 196, Iram Kingsom, was given the same word from last year, realschule, a German secondary school, which she spelled correctly.

And another contestant, Katie Danis from North Carolina, sang the letters to her word, s-t-a-b-i-l-i-m-e-t-e-r, much to the amusement of the audience.

But as for Ansun, he isn’t too bummed.

“I am relieved,” he said with a smile, “and I’ll be back.”

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