An eighth-grader from Diamond Bar advanced to the quarterfinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee Tuesday, topping his performance from last year, while Orange County’s lone speller also advanced to the quarterfinals.
Justin L. Tran correctly spelled renminbi, the official currency of the People’s Republic of China, in the first round, then correctly answered his second-round multiple-choice word meaning question, “Something described as reverberant:” selecting “tends to repeat in echoes.”
In the third round Tuesday afternoon Justin correctly spelled gaseous, an adjective meaning having the form of or being gas, according to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary, the bee’s official dictionary.
Justin was eliminated in the first round of the 2022 bee when he misspelled catjang, a plant in the pea family native to Africa, spelling it katjang.
“It was very surreal competing in the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee, and although I didn’t make it far, I had a great time doing it,” Justin told City News Service in an email interview Monday. “I met a lot of like-minded people, and visited many interesting places.
“I learned that you can never be too prepared for something and you should be careful to always do your best.”
With the bee limited to students in eighth grade or below, this will be the final bee for the 13-year-old who attends Chaparral Middle School. When asked what his goal was, Justin said “I’d obviously like to win, but I’d be happy with any place in the finals.”
The 10 to 12 finalists will be known around 3:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Wednesday.
Aaron Lim, an eighth-grader from Anaheim Hills, also advanced to the quarterfinals.
In Tuesday’s first round, Aaron correctly spelled cephalopod, a noun meaning any of a class of marine mollusks who move by expelling water from a tubular siphon under the head and have a group of muscular usually sucker-bearing arms around the front of the head, highly developed eyes, and usually a sac containing ink which is ejected for defense or concealment.
The El Rancho Charter School eighth-grader correctly answered his word-meaning question, “Another word for seraphic is:” correctly selecting sublime.
In the third round, Aaron correct spelled muckraker, someone who searches out and publicly exposes real or apparent misconduct of a prominent individual or business.
“My goal is to do the absolute best I can, but most of all, have fun, make friends and experience all I can at Bee Week,” Aaron told CNS in an email interview.
When the bee resumes at 5 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time Wednesday at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, Justin and Aaron will be among 121 spellers competing from the original field of 231 spellers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, the Bahamas, Germany and Ghana.
There were 59 spellers eliminated in the first round, 33 in the second and 19 in the third.
Justin will be the fifth speller to compete Wednesday and Aaron the seventh.
The quarterfinals are scheduled from 5-9:45 a.m., followed by the semifinals from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be streamed on spellingbee.com, ION Plus and Bounce XL. A special two-hour semifinal broadcast will air from 5-7 p.m. on ION and Bounce.
The finals will be held Thursday.
The bee is limited to students in eighth grade or below. Contestants for the 95th edition of the national bee range in age from 9 to 14.
The winner will receive $50,000 from the Scripps National Spelling Bee, $2,500 and a reference library from the dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster and $400 in reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica and a three-year membership to Britannica Online Premium.
No contestant from Los Angeles or Orange counties has ever won the bee.
Updated May 31, 2023, 12:41 a.m.