NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Euless charter school student Narahari Bharadwaj, sponsored by the Star-Telegram, advanced to the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee as one of 41 contestants to survive three rounds.
Tonight's finals will be covered live beginning at 7:30 on ESPN.
In Wednesday's third round, Bharadwaj, 13, of Plano, correctly spelled integument, meaning something that covers or encloses. The spellers advanced to the semifinals based on their scores from the first-round written test and two oral rounds, taken by all 275 contestants.
On Wednesday morning, Bharadwaj advanced past the second round at after correctly spelling hieroglyphics.
He attends Harmony Science Academy in Euless and for his first time at the microphone, he asked bee officials for the language of origin, part of speech and finally the definition. He gripped the microphone with two fingers.
Bharadwaj is identified in the bee as speller 236 from Fort Worth.
Vyji Bharadwaj, his mother, has been coaching her son and said teamwork and discipline have gotten him this far.
"The main thing he had to focus on was disciplined learning and he had to concentrate on practicing the spelling on a regular basis," she said. "As parents, we have been supporting him, and his sister has been encouraging him."
Spellers at this year's event at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center come from across the U.S. and the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
On Wednesday morning just before his turn in the second round, Bharadwaj stepped onstage, standing 10 feet from speller 235 as she spelled her word.
He waited with his hands at his sides, looking down. By the time he took the mike, 29 words had been spelled incorrectly.
He bent slightly to speak into the microphone and spelled his word.
Bharadwaj acknowledged later that he was nervous about spelling the word, but he said his participation in the competition was going well.
The competition was created to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage.
To be eligible to compete, spellers must attend a school officially enrolled with the bee, be enrolled in the eighth grade or below, must not have earned the legal equivalent of a high school diploma and could not bypass normal school activity to study for the spelling bee.
All words and the final spelling of words are from Webster's Third New International Dictionary.