Poway teen knocked out of National Spelling Bee in semifinals

Benjamin Evans attends Twin Peaks Middle School, where he is in the eighth grade

Benjamin Evans, a student at Twin Peaks Middle School in Poway, is representing San Diego County in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Maryland.

An eighth-grader from Twin Peaks Middle School in Poway was eliminated in the sixth round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee Wednesday when he misspelled "ravison," a rapeseed of an inferior quality.

Benjamin Evans was among 45 spellers from the original field of 245, the largest since 2019, to advance to the semifinals when he correctly answered his fifth-round multiple-choice vocabulary question earlier Wednesday, "Something described as sectarian is?" selecting "confined to the limits of one group."

There were 14 spellers who incorrectly answered their fifth-round multiple-choice vocabulary question and were eliminated.

Benjamin began Wednesday's quarterfinals by correctly spelling "torchére," a tall ornamental stand for a candlestick or candelabra. There were 89 spellers eliminated in the fourth round, the first in the quarterfinals.

The 14-year-old was among 148 spellers who advanced to the quarterfinals by correctly spelling two words and answering a vocabulary question during Tuesday's preliminaries.

Benjamin began the bee by correctly spelling "Gondwana," the great southern landmass that formed as a result of the division of a much larger supercontinent known as Pangea about 250 million years ago. He also chose the correct answer to the vocabulary question, "What is a symposium?" by selecting, "a conference in which people give speeches."

In the third round, Benjamin correctly spelled "lycopene," a carotenoid pigment that is the red coloring matter of the tomato.

There were 54 spellers eliminated in the first round, 15 in the second and 28 in the third.

The bee will conclude Thursday.

Benjamin qualified for the national bee by winning the San Diego County Scripps Regional Spelling Bee in March, with two-time defending champion Mihir Konkapaka finishing second.

Benjamin correctly spelled "epihippus" — an extinct genus of the modern horse family that lived in the Eocene era, 38 million to 46 million years ago -- as the winning word.

The bee is limited to students in eighth grade or below and who were born on Sept. 1, 2008, or later. Contestants for the 96th edition of the national bee range in age from 8 to 15.

San Diego County has produced two national spelling bee champions -- Anurag Kashyap in 2005 and Snigdha Nandipati in 2012.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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