A couple days ago I returned home from a week long exploit in Riverside, California, where I helped run the North America Spelling Champion Challenge (NASCC). This program is set up like a summer camp, and encourages cultural exchange between Chinese and American spellers.
From China, the top 70 spellers are categorized into three different age groups (third and fourth grade, fifth and sixth grade, seventh and eighth). From the US, there were ~70 spellers who were mostly from the local area. All week, the students participated in classes and fun activities. Kate Miller (8th-place finisher in Scripps National Spelling Bee, 2014) and I were the hosts; meaning we ran the ceremonies to hype the spellers up, ran the activities, and were in charge of the social media accounts. I also helped out with some of the behind-the-scenes workings.
On Friday night, some of the most elite spellers in the world arrived for the competition. Come the start of the competition on Saturday morning, we had a total of 11 finalists* from the 2016 and 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bees. You can only imagine how fierce the competition was. The 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion Ananya Vinay also came to give her words of advice to the competitors, but she could not compete herself.
It was quite the experience to meet both the present and future of elite spelling, and I’d recommend it to anyone seeking experience with competing at a high level.
Shourav Dasari of Houston, Texas (4th at 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee) ended up taking the gold. He won $2,500 and a trip to Beijing for the Global Spelling Champion Challenge of China. Shruthika Padhy (T-7th, 2017 SNSB) took second, and Cameron Keith (T-18th, 2016 SNSB) bagged third.
The bee was originally split up into three age groups: Intermediate (3rd and 4th grade), Advanced (5th and 6th grade), and Middle School (7th and 8th grade). The top 3 from the Intermediate and Advanced groups and the top 5 from the Middle School group advanced to the Championship Finals. The results of the Championship Finals were:
Yo-yo of Tianjin, China – 11th
Johnny of Shenzhen, China – 10th
Marlene Schaff – 9th
Zoe Keith – 8th
Rishik Gandhasri – 7th
Rutvik Gandhasri – T-4th
Alex Iyer – T-4th
Rohan Rajeev – T-4th
Cameron Keith – 3rd
Shruthika Padhy – 2nd
Shourav Dasari – 1st
I also made a list of all the words asked at the bee, including each groups’ Semifinals and Finals, and the Championship Finals with the representatives from each group (there were no ‘Preliminaries’.) Here they are, in order:
*Past Scripps National Spelling Bee finalists competing:
Rohan Rajeev (2nd, 2017)
Shourav Dasari (4th, 2017)
Alex Iyer (T-7th, 2017)
Shrinidhi Gopal (T-7th, 2017)
Shruthika Padhy (T-7th, 2017)
Rutvik Gandhasri (T-6th, 2016, T-35th, 2017)
Marlene Schaff (T-23rd, 2017)
Paul Hamrick (T-35th, 2017)
Aisha Randhawa (T-35th, 2017)
Cameron Keith (T-18th, 2017)
Jiming Chen, Jr. (T-22nd, 2016)