Scripps speller restored to National Bee after protest
OXON HILL, Md. –
A spellcaster has been reinstated into the Scripps National Spelling Bee School after successfully appealing that he had been denied original relevant information about a word.
Surya Kapu, 13, from South Jordan, Utah, misspelled “leucovorin” – a drug used to combat the side effects of a cancer drug – during the final semi-final on Wednesday night Tu, seems to end his escape in the swarm of bees. only briefly in the final.
Surya’s family appealed, alleging that Scripps omitted details when he asked a question about the origin of the word. The speller is allowed to ask questions about the root and the examiner answers with an affirmative sentence if the speller can identify a related root and its meaning.
Scripps said in a statement that its judges met for about two hours before deciding late Wednesday night to reinstate Surya.
“The judges’ decision to reinstate is supported by a belief in the bee’s mission to inspire the discovery of words and celebrate academic achievement,” the statement said. “After further consideration, it was determined that there is more directly relevant information available in the dictionary for one of the speller’s questions. Based on this, Surya will have the opportunity to participate in the Round. 7 with a new word.”
What that means in practice: Surya will receive her new word early in Thursday night’s final. If he spells that word correctly, he’ll join 12 finalists, who have come out on top to compete for more than $50,000 in cash and prizes.
Surya has a spell-perfect resume and is a student of 2015 runner-up Cole Shafer-Ray, who coached last year’s champion, Zaila Avant-garde.
Recoverys are rare but not unheard of. The last time happened in 2018 when a contestant correctly spelled the homonym of a word without being given a definition or told that homonyms existed.
Perhaps the most consequential rebound occurred in 2006, when Saryn Hooks was eliminated in the final despite her spelling “hechsher”.
Another spinner’s brother was the first to notice the error, and Saryn was recovered, finishing third.