2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee: Stiff Competition And Memorable Exchanges

2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee: Stiff Competition And Memorable Exchanges
DSC_0029 Scripps National Spelling Bee / Flickr CC BY 2.0

On Wednesday, 283 regional champions competed in the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee. The two preliminary rounds saw some witty exchanges between the participants and pronouncer Jacques Bailly, the winner of the 1980 bee.


Among the contestants, 214 cleared the preliminary rounds and now await results as to whether they will make it to the finals. While some were confident and exuded boldness, others were extremely nervous and terrified.

Some of the best moments of the spelling bee included exchanges between the competitors and Bailly.

Joshua Mason, upon hearing his word, quaquaversal, said, “Can I buy you a vowel?”

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Mitchell Robson joked before his turn, saying, “Before I start spelling, I just want my mom to take a deep breath for a moment.” Robson correctly spelled his word, Pythagorean.

As reported by TIME, most contestants easily spelled words like ubiquitous, flamenco, autopsy, howitzer and oregano. In the second onstage round on Wednesday, the teenagers successfully tackled words like panophthalmitis. However, others had to face disappointment, when missing a vowel in guayabi resulted in them being politely sent offstage.

Some of the contestants appearing in the semi-finals were sponsored by Daily News. Sai Vishudi Chandrasekhar, winner of three consecutive New York Daily News Spelling Bee titles, was one such contestant. She correctly spelled “excise” and “jacaranda” in the first and second rounds, respectively.

Bailly, the official pronouncer, tried to encourage the participants by smiling and saying “Howdy” as they made their way to the stage. Some of the best moments were the excellent sentences he provided when he was asked to put the words into context.

These included, “Henry hates it when people call him bellicose, and if they had a second he would gladly say why he carries a crossbow and wears war paint whenever he leaves the house”; “Max shouted, ‘Eureka!’ when he finally found the channel he was looking for in the upper 500s of his satellite TV system”; and “While the hotel tried to help the weary traveler, he could not accommodate his request to be hand fed grapes by room service.”

The finals will be held on Thursday and will be broadcasted by ESPN.

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