Minnesota's two semifinalists quickly exited the nationally telecast semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee near Washington, D.C., leaving a few dozen others to chase a spot in the evening's finals.
Antony Joseph, a seventh-grader at Fairmont Junior High, and eighth-grader Roshini Asirvatham of Friedell Middle School were both eliminated on their first words.
Joseph's word was "tendenz." He spelled it "tendentz." It means a dominating point of view or purpose influencing the structure and content of a literary work.
Asirvatham was next to the microphone. She was tripped up on "sciophyte." She spelled it "sciaphyte." It is a plant that endures or thrives best at lowered light intensity.
The two were making repeat appearances at the bee. Joseph, 13, participated the past two years. Asirvatham, 12, competed in 2010. Both were making their first forays into the semis.
On Wednesday, three Minnesotans fell short of the semifinal round: seventh-graders Emma Greenlee of Mesabi East High School in Aurora, and Elise Stahl, a home-schooled student from Greenfield; and eighth-grader Matthew Majerle of Forestview Middle School in Baxter.
Six-year-old Lori Anne Madison of Lake Ridge, Va., the youngest entrant in bee history, also did not make the semifinals. The semifinals are being telecast on ESPN2, with the finals Thursday night on ESPN.
The 85th annual bee is being held in Maryland at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.
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Paul Walsh 612-673-4482