Four North Texans Advance to the Primetime National Spelling Bee Finals

This story is developing and will be updated.NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Four North Texas spellers dominated the Thursday morning finals and are advancing to the primetime Scripps National Spelling Bee finals.The day began with 50 spellers and nine Texans. By the end of round 8, 16 spellers and four Texans —all from North Texas — remained.Hephzibah Sujoe, a seventh-grader from Bethesda Christian School in Fort Worth, was the final speller in round 8 vying for a spot.Hephzibah received “yponomeutid,” meaning of or relating to a family of tineoid moths. She calmly went through her questions to figure out the word. Spellers are quick to admit they get lucky with words, and Hephzibah did. “I was just really happy because I knew the word,” she said. “I just needed to spell it correctly, and I’m on to the finals.”For people who follow the spelling bee, Sujoe is a recognizable name.Five years ago, her brother, Ansun, was co-champion of the 2014 National Spelling Bee. His victory was the highest a Fort Worth-area competitor placed since Barrie Trinkle in 1973, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported at the time.“This brings back a lot of old memories,” he said Thursday, adding that he did not have any expectations then except to see just how far he could go.Hephzibah said she became interested in spelling around the time Ansun first competed at nationals as a sixth-grader in 2013.Rohan Raja of Irving, Abhijay Kodali of Flower Mound and Sohum Sukhatankar of Dallas -- who have competed against each other at regionals and nationals for the last two years -- all advanced to the finals.  Continue reading...

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