East Bay Girl Spells "Polytocous" Incorrectly in Bee

Both Bay Area contestants failed to make it to the final round

By Lisa Fernandez and Amanda Hochmuth
|  Thursday, May 30, 2013  |  Updated 2:17 PM PDT
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Spelling Bee Crowns Its Champion: Arvind Mahankali

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Katharine Wang, 11, of Beijing, China, center, gathers herself before the start of the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. From left are, Eva Kitlen of Niwot, Colo., Wang, and Audrey Bantug, 13, of San Ramon, Calif.

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Two Bay Area Girls Advance in National Spelling Bee

Local girls Neha Konakalla who goes to school in Cupertino and Audrey Bantug who goes to school in San Ramon, both 13, are competing in the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee. They advanced on Wednesday to another round.
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An East Bay 13-year-old girl, who had been chugging along in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, was finally ousted on Thursday, when she spelled the word "polytocous" incorrectly in  Round 6.

Audrey Bantug, an eighth grader at Iron Horse Middle School in San Ramon, will now not advance to tonight's final round.

Just hours before on Thursday, she had spelled "oread," which  means mountain nymph, with flying colors.

(Side note: polytocous means bearing many young at a time.)
 
The competition consists of three preliminary rounds, which began Tuesday, followed by two semifinal rounds and a championship final.
 
The winner of Thursday night’s final will receive over $30,000 in cash and prizes.
 
Last year’s winner, Snigdha Nandipati, 14, of San Diego, clinched the title by conquering the word “guetapens.” (We helped you with the first two, but look this one up if you're unsure of the meaning.)
 
A second Bay Area student who made it to the annual Super Bowl of spelling bees in Washington, D.C., was Neha Konakalla, a seventh grader at Sam H. Lawson Middle School in Cupertino. But Neha was eliminated on Wednesday because of results from her oral and written testing, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which is sponsoring her.  Audrey is multilingual, speaks fluent Tagalog and, according to her bio, is passionate about reading and writing. She hopes to be a writer one day.
 
New Rules:
This year all 281 spellers took an additional "Preliminaries Test." That test contained 12 score spelling words, 12 score vocabulary questions, a Round Two vocabulary question and a Round Three vocabulary question for a total potential score of 30 points. Additionally, spellers who spelled correctly on stage during Rounds Two and Three of the Bee had an opportunity to earn an additional three points for each correct spelling. Here's the catch: If a speller misspelled in either Round Two or Round Three, the speller was eliminated from the competition.

 To help viewers follow up-to-the-minute updates on the competition, the Scripps National Spelling Bee is running a live Twitter feed on their account @ScrippsBee.

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