5/28/12 Spelling champ headed to D.C.

Spelling champ headed to D.C.
By Mike Wilder, The Times-News 5/28/12     
Reprinted with permission.


   Local spelling bee champ Meghna Mahadevan is headed to Washington, D.C.

   The sixth-grade student at Western Middle School qualified for the Scripps National Spelling Bee by winning the Times-News Spelling Bee in February.

   Two hundred and seventyeight spellers will compete in the national bee.

   The competition begins Tuesday, when competitors will take a computer-based test.

   Oral competition will be from 8 to 9:45 a.m. and 10 to 11:45 a.m. and from 1:15 to 3 p.m. and 3:30 to 5:15 p.m. Wednesday. It will be shown live on ESPN3.com. Results from Wednesday’s rounds will be combined with results from Tuesday to determine who advances to the semifinals.

   Relatively few spellers advance to the semifinals. Competition rules spellers must have combined scores higher than at least 228 of the competition’s 278 spellers.

   Semifinals will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday. They will be shown live on ESPN 2.

   Finals will be from 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday and will be shown live on ESPN.

   Mahadevan is the daughter of Sumitha and Anand Mahadevan. She has a younger brother, Druvah. The family left for Washington on Sunday. Mahadevan said she’s pretty familiar with Washington from previous trips.

   “I’m looking forward to making a whole bunch of new friends,” she said, “and just going through the whole spelling bee experience I’ve always wanted to go through.” She has watched previous national competitions on TV and said the experience appears nerve-wracking but fun. She’s hoping to be wellprepared. “I’ve been studying a lot of lists (of words),” she said. “Some from the Scripps website and I’ve been doing some extra words as well.”