May 29, 2024 - News

Two Utah students reach quarterfinals at national spelling bee

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Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Four Utah students represented the state at the Scripps National Spelling Bee this week.

State of spelling: Two made it to the quarterfinals on Wednesday while two were bounced in the prelims on Tuesday.

Here are the spellers and — and the words they had to spell or define:

Sophia Montana, a 6th grader at Daybreak Elementary, finished her run on Wednesday misspelling "inspeximus" — some sort of certification, according to a dictionary entry that's as obscure as the word itself. Before that, Sophia spelled:

  • "rosacea," a skin condition that causes redness,
  • "Plantagenet," the house that ruled England before the Tudors,
  • and defined "evanescent," which means "short-lived."

Brooke Powell, a homeschooled 13-year-old from the Salt Lake Valley, was eliminated on "aligreek" — a term whose "only known use" was in the 1860s, per the Oxford English Dictionary. Brooke previously spelled:

  • "balmoral," a type of shoe or cap — or the name of the castle where the British royal family summers,
  • "cushag," the name for ragwort in Manx Gaelic,
  • and defined "tiffin," a fancy word for "lunch."

Sasha Kenlon, a 6th grader from Park City, was asked in round one to spell "mandorla," a football-shaped panel or border used in old paintings.

Cadi Heaton, an 8th grader from Price, kept her sang-froid but met her coup de grâce in round one with "roi fainéant," a French term for "a do-nothing king."

  • C'est la vie!
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