NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Plano’s Dhroov Bharatia and Keller’s Vivinsha Veduru are again advancing to the next round of the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee, this time as one of just 48 spellers who survived the quarterfinals Wednesday morning.
Bharatia, Veduru and six other spellers from Texas will compete in the semifinals Wednesday afternoon for a spot in the coveted finals round on Thursday night. A challenging preliminary round Tuesday saw only 88 out of 229 spellers advance to the quarterfinals Wednesday morning.
Bharatia, 13, who attends Wilson Middle School in Plano, and Veduru, 11, who attends Bear Creek Intermediate in Keller, advanced to the finals of last year’s Bee and tied for fourth.
To secure his spot in the next round, Bharatia had to spell the word “limen” correctly — the point at which a physiological or psychological effect begins to be produced. He made sure to ask for all the information available on the word, such as its language of origin and its definition, before he spelled it for the judges.
Veduru, one of just a handful of sixth graders still in the competition, had to spell the word “nucament,” or a floral spike with scaly bracts and flowers without petals. She, too, made sure she had all the information she needed, and used all the time she had, on the word before she spelled it correctly.
Like Bharatia and Veduru, most of the six other Texans to advance to the semifinals have competed in the Bee. Spellers from Houston, Waco, San Antonio and Odessa will compete Wednesday afternoon.
Each segment — the preliminaries, quarterfinals, semifinals and finals — was supposed to have one round of spelling, and one round in which spellers have to identify the meaning of a word from a list of choices. Organizers added that component last year to “further advance the Bee’s focus on word knowledge and literacy.”
But Wednesday morning’s quarterfinals only had students go through one spelling round before judges declared the semifinalists, much to the delight of the surviving spellers. Cheers erupted from the stage and audience when it was announced the quarterfinals were ending before the word meaning questions.
Aside from bragging rights on a national stage, spellers are also competing for cash prizes. All quarterfinalists received a $100 gift card, and all semifinalists will receive a $500 gift card. For those who advance out of the semifinals, the finalist awards vary: sixth place earns $2,500, fifth earns $5,000, fourth $10,000, third $15,000 and second $25,000.
The first-place speller goes home with $50,000 cash, the Scripps Cup championship trophy, $2,500 from Merriam-Webster and $400 of reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica.
Bharatia, when asked if he is hoping to place higher than he did last year, said anything can happen.
“But to me, it’s about the knowledge that I’ve learned and the stuff I’ve gained, not the results,” he said. “I know that I’ve worked hard.”
You can watch each round via the livestream at spellingbee.com or on the TV networks ION and Bounce.