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Olathe’s Vanya Shivashankar eliminated from National Spelling Bee

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Vanya Shivashankar has competed in three previous national finals, in 2010 and 2012, and in 2013 when she tied for 5th place.

WASHINGTON — Vanya Shivashankar, an Olathe middle school student, correctly spelled the word ‘echinite’ in the semifinal rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, but despite her success, she was eliminated during the semifinal rounds based on a computerized score of spelling and vocabulary.

Forty-six of the nation’s best young spellers took to the stage for the nerve-jangling semifinal rounds.

Thursday evening the remaining finalists will have to spell two words correctly in front of a national television audience and then hope their score on the computerized spelling and vocabulary test is high enough to make the cut.

Vanya Shivashankar, 12, attends California Trail Middle School in Olathe.

Among her fellow competitors are last year’s third-place finisher, 14-year-old Sriram Hathwar of Corning, New York, and another finalist from 2013: 13-year-old Syamantak Payra of Friendswood, Texas. Syamantak and 13-year-old Mary Horton of West Melbourne, Florida, tied for highest score on the computer test.

The bee is broadcast live on ESPN2.


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