Last N.C. representative out in National Spelling Bee

Staff writerJune 2, 2011 

Spelling Bee

Prakash Mishra, 13, of Charlotte, N.C., spells during the finals of the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hills, Md., Thursday, June 2, 2011.

PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS — Pablo Martinez Monsivais - AP

A Union County eighth-grader earned a trip to Thursday night’s finals of the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee, while three contestants from the Triangle bowed out before the semifinals.

Prakash Mishra, 13, North Carolina’s only representative to advance to the final, lost in the 10th round by misspelling "susurrus."

Prakash, of Waxhaw, won The Charlotte Observer Regional Spelling Bee in February for the second year in a row to advance to the national contest. He said he stepped up his training after his run in last year’s National Spelling Bee ended in the third round, working on his spelling for at least an hour each day.

“This time, I prepared much more intensely,” he said.

Wearing a shirt with a splash of yellow – his lucky color – Prakash looked poised as he rattled off b-a-i-z-e, a word meaning a coarse woolen or cotton fabric, to reach the final rounds.

He has written several novels and enjoys reading, especially works by Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe and T.S. Eliot. Prakash speaks five languages, including Hindi, French, German, Spanish and English.

All 275 spellers took a 25-word written spelling test and were individually given two words to spell out loud Wednesday to determine who would go on to the semifinals.

None of the three Triangle contestants were among the 41 semifinalists who competed Thursday.

Catherine Wagner of St. Michael School in Cary correctly spelled “iterative” and “punctilio.”

Jesus Ayala Lara of Chewning Middle School in Durham correctly spelled “quagmiry” and “splenetic.”

Graham Lowder of Southside Christian School in Clayton correctly spelled “cenote” and “troglodytic.”

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