Rohan Sachdev, a 12-year-old from Cary, is the only Triangle student to advance to the semifinals in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington.
Sachdev, who is home-schooled, correctly spelled two words – kasha and amphictyony – and scored high enough on a multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test to move to the next round.
He is one of an elite group of 49 spellers to make it to the semifinals. Akshra Paimagam, 12, of Charlotte is the only other North Carolina speller in the semifinals.
They now will take another multiple choice test of spelling and vocabulary words Wednesday evening and will take part in two rounds of oral spelling Thursday morning.
Three other spellers in the Triangle didn’t advance. They are Andrew Bowen, 11, a fifth-grader at Angier Elementary; Bettie Lehem Closs, 11, a sixth-grader at Lucas Middle in Durham; and Abigail Pittman, 12, a seventh-grader at Southside Christian School.
While all of the Triangle students correctly spelled their first-round words, the second round proved difficult for many. Of the 14 North Carolina spellers, half were eliminated in this round, including Pittman and Bowen. Closs correctly spelled her second word of osteomalacia.
Bee organizers use a formula to determine which of the 285 spellers will advance to the semifinals. No more than 50 are allowed to advance.
Sachdev, the son of Rajan and Shubha, won his first spelling bee as a second-grader at Laurel Park Elementary. He’s stayed on the spelling circuit – qualifying for the Wake County bee every year since he was 6 – because he loves to compete, especially with his 10-year-old brother Rahul.
He also is the second-best player in North Carolina in his age group.
Thursday’s semifinal round airs at 10 a.m. on ESPN2. The final round is at 8 p.m. Thursday on ESPN.
What does it mean?
Rohan Sachdev correctly spelled kasha and amphictyony to advance to the semifinal round. Kasha is a mix of buckwheat, barley and wheat. Amphictyony is an association of neighboring states or communities from ancient Greece who shared responsibility for protecting religious buildings.