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Home / Scripps National Spelling Bee

Corona seventh grader ties for 12th in national spelling bee

A seventh grader from Corona was eliminated in the eighth round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee Wednesday to be among nine spellers tying for 12th.

Avijeet S. Randhawa misspelled pridian, an adjective meaning of or relating to a previous day or to Tuesday, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. He spelled it “predian.”

The 11 spellers who correctly spelled their eighth-round word correctly advanced to Thursday’s finals.

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 was reduced to 121 at the start of Wednesday’s quarterfinals. There were 59 spellers eliminated in the first round, 32 in the second and 19 in the third.

The 12-year-old began Wednesday’s competition at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, by correctly spelling chumble, a verb meaning to gnaw or chew, to be among 73 spellers to advance to the fifth round. There were 48 spellers eliminated.

In the second round of each segment the spellers answer a multiple-choice word meaning question. Avijeet’s question was “A gourmand is someone who enjoys:” and he correctly selected “a fine dining experience,” to be among the 56 spellers to advance to the semifinals, while 17 spellers were eliminated.

The Auburndale Intermediate School student correctly spelled constatation, a noun meaning basic assumption, in the sixth round to be among 22 spellers advancing to the seventh round, while 34 were eliminated.

Avijeet correctly answered his seventh-round word meaning question, “If something is described as Jovian, it relates to:” selecting Jupiter, to be among 20 advancing to the eighth round.

In Tuesday’s first round, Avijeet correctly spelled cacaxte, a square wooden packing frame or crate that has four legs and a net cover and is carried on the back, especially by Guatemalan Indians with the help of a tumpline, according to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary, the bee’s official dictionary.

Avijeet then correctly answered his multiple-choice word meaning question: “An osteopath is a type of:” selecting medical practitioner.

In the third round, he correctly spelled transitory, an adjective meaning of brief duration.

With the bee limited to students in eighth grade or below, Avijeet will be eligible for the 2024 national bee.

Avijeet’s sister Aisha competed in the national bee from 2016-19, tying for seventh in 2018. His sister Lara was among 10 spellers tying for 13th in 2022 and reached the quarterfinals in 2021.

A speller from Riverside County has never won the bee.

LA, OC students also compete in national bee

Spellers from Los Angeles and Orange counties also competed at the national level. Eighth-graders from Diamond Bar and Anaheim Hills were eliminated in the fourth round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Wednesday.

Justin L. Tran of Diamond Bar misspelled flong, a sheet — such as several layers of tissue paper superposed on a sheet of heavier paper — used for making a stereotype matrix, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. He spelled it “flaung.”

Aaron Lim, an eighth-grader from Anaheim Hills, competing two spellers later, misspelled ovination, a noun meaning introduction of sheep-pox virus locally into the body as formerly practiced to induce immunity or reduce the severity of the disease. He spelled it “ovanation.”

“I didn’t know that the root ‘ovi-‘ could apply to sheep,” Aaron told City News Service in an email interview. “I considered ‘ovination’ as a possible spelling, but ruled it out as I thought the root ‘ovi-‘ meant ‘egg’ and that the word ovination must use a different spelling. ‘Ovanation’ made the most sense to me.”

Aaron said while he was familiar with the words in the first two rounds because they were from the official bee study list, “the words from rounds three and four were completely unknown to me because the study list for those rounds was the whole dictionary, so I relied on intuition as well as reasoning based on my experience with language pattern recognition.”

Justin said he was familiar with every word he received except for flong.

“I misspelled flong because I had never seen it on any word list and the information given didn’t help me to discern whether it was spelled flaung (my spelling) or flong,” Justin said.

“In the end, I decided to go with flaung, because it seemed like more of a French spelling, and it was unfortunately incorrect.”

The 13-year-old, who attends Chaparral Middle School in Diamond Bar, said in an email interview: “I would have liked to have gotten farther in the competition, but I’m pretty happy being among the best spellers in the United States. My younger self would never have thought that I would get this far.”

Justin advanced to the quarterfinals by correctly spelling gaseous, an adjective meaning having the form of or being gas, in Tuesday’s third round at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

Aaron advanced by correctly spelling muckraker, someone who searches out and publicly exposes real or apparent misconduct of a prominent individual or business, in the third round.

“I know I can hold my head high with my performance, but at the same time, the level of competition in today’s spelling bees has reached such a high level that I wish I had started studying root words at a younger age,” Aaron said.

Justin correctly spelled renminbi, the official currency of the People’s Republic of China, in Tuesday’s first round, then correctly answered his second-round multiple-choice word meaning question, “Something described as reverberant:” selecting “tends to repeat in echoes.”

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 14-year-old student at El Rancho Charter School in Anaheim correctly answered his word-meaning question, “Another word for seraphic is:” correctly selecting sublime.

With the spelling bee limited to students in eighth grade or below, this was the final bee for both Justin and Aaron.

Justin also competed in the 2022 national bee and was eliminated in the first round when he misspelled catjang, a plant in the pea family native to Africa, spelling it katjang.

Justin said the most memorable moment in his bee career came in his first bee when he was in first grade.

“I had made it to the finals of my school bee, and it was pretty intimidating going up (against) the fifth graders that were so much bigger than me,” Justin said. “I worked my way to the top three, and found myself on the word physicists.

“I made a guess and ended up adding way too many s’s. And even though I was out, that was the first step where I realized the spelling bee was something I could really excel at.”

No contestant from Los Angeles or Orange counties has won the bee.

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