Ashburn, VA (March 21, 2017) – Rishubh Kaushal, an eighth-grader at Seneca Ridge Middle School, repeated as champion at the 35th Annual Loudoun County Regional Spelling Bee on Thursday, March 2nd, at Stone Bridge High School.
On the face of it, that might seem like a pretty routine statement.
But there was nothing routine about the four-hour-and-46-minute bee, which ended at 11:29 p.m. For 23 rounds, Kaushal and Anoushka Upadhye, a seventh-grader at Stone Hill Middle School, competed in what could aptly be described as a “war of words.” In several rounds, both spelled their words correctly; in others they both missed. When they got to the championship round, during which the winning speller must spell two words correctly in succession, they would miss.
Not that the words they misspelled are those you’d use in everyday conversation.
- Tamandua, a small nocturnal arboreal anteater with a naked prehensile tail, native to tropical America.
- Pignolias, the edible seed of any of several nut pines, especially some pinons of southwestern North America.
- Tetrapteron, a four-winged insect.
- Zymase, a mixture of enzymes obtained from yeast that catalyze the breakdown of sugars in alcoholic fermentation.
The winning word was “saffage” in the 33rd round. For those of you who are not French artists, the word is defined as an accessory item in a landscape painting. Saffage was the 292nd word of the evening.
The Spelling Bee started with 75 spellers. The opening word was amphibious. By round four, there were only 20 spellers left. Nine were still on stage as round five began. These spellers were Aadit Krishna, a fifth-grader from Moorefield Station Elementary; Vincent Trang, a fifth-grader from Mill Run Elementary; Kaushal; Mihika Dusad, a fifth-grader from Creighton’s Corner Elementary; Tara Vidyababu, a fifth-grader from Forest Grove Elementary; Upadhye; Manohar Nookala, a fifth-grader from John W. Tolbert Jr. Elementary; Aleesha Khurram, a seventh-grader from Trailside Middle School; and Alexandra Toporowicz, a fifth-grader from Round Hill Elementary School.
For his victory, Kaushal moves on to the 89th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 31st and June 1st in Washington, D.C.
The peerless pronouncer for the evening was Smart’s Mill Middle School Principal Will Waldman. Judges for the Spelling Bee were Harper Park Middle School Principal Beth Robinson, Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Director of Student Services Dr. Clark Bowers and Newton-Lee Elementary Principal Shawn Lyons. Waterford Elementary Principal Andrew Heironimus was the “green room manager,” making sure all the students were properly placed on stage. LCPS English Specialist David Arbogast was the sound technician.
At the bee’s outset, LCPS Chief of Staff Dr. Michael Richards put the importance of spelling into perspective for the contestants. “The fact that you’re up here means you have the skills and determination and perseverance – there’s a word for you – the skills of focus and concentration. Those are so important for all academic pursuits. It is a very important event…Every single one of you, for getting on this stage, is a winner.”
School Board Chairman Jeff Morse attended the Spelling Bee.