4 Texans enter final round of National Spelling Bee (Quiz)

Finalists will compete in the first in-person bee since the COVID-19 pandemic


ALEX BRANDON/Associated Press

Actor LeVar Burton stands with Surya Kapu, 13, from South Jordan, Utah, during the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Thursday in Oxon Hill, Md. Surya Kapu received a second chance after appealing his elimination in the semifinal round.

VICTOR SWEZEY, Southwest Journalist

As the Scripps National Spelling Bee entered its final round, four of the 13 remaining spellers hailed from the state of Texas. 

Returning for its first fully in-person competition since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bee brought 229 of America’s best spellers back to its traditional location in Oxon Hill, Maryland. This year’s competition included an extra preliminary round that one Plano speller called “no joke.”

These qualifiers were weeded down to a group of finalists, including an impressive number of Texan spellers:

  • Kristen Santos, 11, of Houston
  • Vihan Sibal, 13, of Waco
  • Harini Logan, 15, of San Antonio
  • Shijay Sivakumar, 14, of Odessa

The inclusion of a 13th finalist was highly irregular and came as the result of an “unprecedented” ruling by the bee’s judges, after the family of Surya Kapu, 13, argued that he was denied adequate information about the roots of the word “leucovorin,” which he misspelled.

Stay with us for more coverage as the finalists duke it out and one is crowned champion speller.

In the meantime, you can play along in this Southwest Journalist exclusive spelling quiz.


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