After coming so close in the past, Rohan Sachdev triumphantly raised his hands Saturday knowing he had won the Wake County Spelling Bee on his fifth try.
Rohan, 11, a sixth-grade student representing the Cary Homeschoolers group, has qualified every year for the county spelling bee since he was 6 and initially competing against spellers twice his age. He came in first Saturday out of a field of more than 100 spellers who had won bees at their respective traditional public schools, charter schools, private schools and home schools when he correctly spelled “moiety,” which means a half.
Now Rohan has his sights set on the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May in Washington, D.C. That contest has become a cultural phenomenon broadcast on television.
“It feels really great,” Rohan said at the competition held at the N.C. State McKimmon Center. “I’m going to work hard to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee this year.”
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While some of the spellers had as many as eight days off from school the past two weeks because of the snow, Rohan was busy at home doing schoolwork and preparing for the bee. The preparation paid off Saturday as the afternoon’s first four championship rounds eliminated 24 of the 26 remaining spellers.
The head-to-head battle came down to Rohan and Patrick McElligott, 13, an eighth-grader at Thales Academy Junior High School in Wake Forest. They spelled words such as celeriac, octuplicate, noisette, ergot and septentrional.
Rohan’s moment came when Patrick missed banausic, which means relating to or concerned with earning a living. When Rohan, who previously finished as high as third in the county bee, found out the winning word would be moiety, he said he was relieved.
“I knew the word,” he said. “I wasn’t worried.”
PAGE of Wake County, a group that advocates for academically gifted children, runs the competition. Sponsors include The News & Observer and the Carolina Hurricanes.
Hui: 919-829-4534; Twitter: @nckhui