A seventh-grade boy from Discovery Canyon Campus School in north Colorado Springs is one of eight Colorado students competing in this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Rohit V. Paradkar, 13, likes ravioli, Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller and "The Son of Neptune," a fantasy novel by Rick Riordan, says his biography on the bee's website.
Rohit correctly spelled "bilharzia," the website says. He was among the 452 competitors - including all eight Coloradans - to move on from the first day.
Sixty-four of this year's 516 spellers were eliminated.
The competition was super-sized - nearly double last year's 291 spellers - because of a new wild-card program that provided a path to the bee for kids who didn't qualify by conventional means and were willing to pay their own way.
That means an extra day of spelling in the already-packed bee week schedule, with competitors taking the stage for three days instead of two.
Previously, after the high-stakes written spelling and vocabulary test that largely determines the top 50 or so spellers who make the finals, competitors had the rest of the day to go sightseeing in Washington, D.C., and blow off steam. Now they'll go straight from the test to the stage, where each will get one word to spell the first day, and those who remain will get another word the second day.
The wild-card program was open to anyone who won a school-level spelling bee. Scripps officials weren't sure how many would apply, as the entry fee is $750 and wild-card spellers pay for their own travel and lodging at the convention center outside Washington where the bee is held. Sponsors cover costs for spellers who win their regional bees.
The RSVBee program admitted 238 people, the bee's website says.
Colorado has produced seven winners since the contest began in 1925, tied for the country's third-best state, The Denver Post reported. Texas is at the top, with 11 winners.
The seven other spellers from Colorado are:
- Angelina Holm, 11, Denver School of the Arts
- Jacob Faulk, 14, Slavens K-8 School in Denver
- Cameron Keith, 12, Mackintosh Academy in Boulder
- Gia Bao Pham, 10, Birch Elementary School in Broomfield
- Lauren Guo, 12, Wayne Carle Middle School in Westminster
- Matthew Rodgers, 13, Severance Middle School in Severance
- Noah Prioste, 11, Adams Elementary School in Westminster
Cameron has participated in the 2015 and 2016 bees, finishing in a tie for 18th place the second time around, The Post reported. He fell short in the qualifying rounds this year. But, given his past appearances, entered under the new rules.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated where Scripps National Spelling Bee competitor Lauren Guo’s school is located. Wayne Carle Middle School is in Westminster.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198