5/25/14 Spelling bee champ goes to nationals

Spelling bee champ goes to nationals
Patel says he will be less nervous since this is his second time at competition
By Isaac Groves, The Times-News 5/25/14  
Reprinted with permission.      

   Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. That’s Shiv Patel’s favorite word. It is a lung disease caused by silica dust. Patel said he thought it was associated with coal ash or dust. It is often called the longest English word. Patel, 14, knows a lot about words. He can spell that 45-letter bomb from memory, which is why he is speller 167 in the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington this week.

   Patel won the Times-News Spelling Bee in February to get to the national bee. It was the second time he won it, and this will be his second national com petition.

   He made it to the third round of the national spelling bee in 2011 with scherzo — a movement of light or playful character in a symphony — and comestibles — food — when he was in fifth grade.

   That year, Sukanya Roy won with cymotrichous — having wavy hair. Patel made it on stage but got culled out on a written test.

   Patel thinks that experience will give him an advantage this time around.

   “I think because I’ve experienced it once, I will not be as nervous as before,” Patel said. “There were more people and, I guess, the words were harder than here.”

   Preparation is different for the national spelling bee, Patel said. He has been working on root words, languages of origin and the spelling rules in those languages, because there is no master list for the national spelling bee.

   “So you really need to know how to spell the words without having seen them before,” Patel said.

   Patel and his father Dilip and mother Manisha will leave today for Washington.

   Computer-based testing starts Tuesday morning. On Wednesday, spellers will be on stage and ESPN 3. After another computer-based test in round four, the semifinals start Thursday morning, broadcast on ESPN 2. Championship finals are Thursday evening.

   The winner gets $30,000 and other prizes. Sixth place is worth $2,000.

   You can follow the action on ESPN 3 and 2 and at www.spellingbee.com. The bee also has a Facebook page and Twitter feed.

   Patel and his parents will be in Washington all week. When he gets home, he will have to make up some end-of-grade tests. But he does not complain about the timing.

   “I just want to try this time because after eighth grade, I will not be able to compete,” Patel said.