Corona Seventh-Grader to Compete in National Spelling Bee Quarterfinals

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

CORONA (CNS) – A seventh-grader from Corona will be among the 121 spellers competing in Wednesday’s quarterfinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, matching the feat of his two older sisters.

Avijeet S. Randhawa advanced to the quarterfinals by correctly spelling transitory, an adjective meaning of brief duration, in Tuesday’s third round at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

The quarterfinals are scheduled for 5 to 9:45 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, followed by the semifinals from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be streamed on, ION Plus and Bounce XL. A special two-hour semifinal broadcast will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on ION and Bounce.

The Auburndale Intermediate School student will be the eighth speller to compete.

In Tuesday’s first round, the 12-year-old correctly spelled cacaxte, a square wooden packing frame or crate that has four legs and a net cover and is carried on the back, especially by Guatemalan Indians with the help of a tumpline, according to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary, the bee’s official dictionary.

Avijeet then correctly answered his multiple-choice word meaning question: “An osteopath is a type of?” He correctly selected medical practitioner.

The original field consisted of 231 spellers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, the Bahamas, Germany and Ghana. There were 59 spellers eliminated in the first round, 33 in the second and 19 in the third.

The finals will be Thursday.

Avijeet qualified for the national bee by winning by the Riverside County bee, correctly spelling forbs, a plant species, as the final word.

Avijeet’s sister Aisha competed in the national bee from 2016-19, tying for seventh in 2018. His sister Lara was among 10 spellers tying for 13th in 2022 and reached the quarterfinals in 2021.

“Seeing how much my sisters learned motivated me” to compete in spelling bees, Avijeet told City News Service in an email interview. “It helps teach good study habits, handling stress and nerves and increases my writing skills and reading comprehension.”

Avijeet began his spelling bee career by finishing second behind Lara in the 2022 Corona-Norco Unified School District Bee.

Avijeet said his sisters “have been extremely helpful teaching me language patterns and roots and to stay in the moment using my process when spelling on stage.”

Avijeet said he prepared for the bee by studying “Words of the Champions,” the national bee’s official study resource, using the website SpellPundit and being quizzed by Lara.

The bee is limited to students in eighth grade or below. Contestants for the 95th edition of the national bee range in age from 9 to 14.

The winner will receive $50,000 from the Scripps National Spelling Bee, $2,500 and a reference library from the dictionary publisher Merriam- Webster and $400 in reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica and a three- year membership to Britannica Online Premium.

A speller from Riverside County has never won the bee.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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