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Speller just one point shy of semifinals

Union Leader Correspondent

May 28. 2014 8:23PM

Arushi Kalpande 

NASHUA — Just one point prevented Arushi Kalpande from moving into the semifinals of Thursday’s 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Kalpande, 12, managed to accurately spell all of her words in the second and third preliminary rounds on Wednesday, but struggled slightly with the vocabulary component of the tournament.

“I was pretty nervous,” Kalpande said Wednesday night after a long day of competition at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

The sixth-grader from Infant Jesus School in Nashua collected a combined 27 points from the preliminary spelling and vocabulary rounds on Wednesday.

“She missed by just one point. She had 27 points, and she really needed 28,” said Kalpande’s father, Raju Kalpande. Still, he said his daughter was pleased and excited about her accomplishment at her first national spelling bee tournament.

Arushi Kalpande, the New Hampshire Union Leader representative for the state, correctly spelled the word “tritium,” meaning the radioactive isotope of hydrogen that has atoms of three times the mass of ordinary light hydrogen atoms, and the word “querimonious,” which means habitually complaining.

Although she successfully defined the word “adulation,” which means effusive or excessive flattery, and was able to explain that if something is colloquial it pertains to conversation, she failed to collect enough points from other vocabulary questions in the preliminary computer-based testing to qualify for Wednesday’s round of competition.

The Nashua student said the vocabulary was challenging, but she was pleased to be able to represent the state in such a prestigious spelling competition.

“She is happy,” echoed her father.

The semifinals of the spelling bee tournament will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, and are being aired live on ESPN2. The championship finals will begin at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

Kalpande was competing against 280 other contestants in the Scripps National Spelling Bee this week. By the end of the day on Wednesday, 235 contestants had been eliminated, and just 46 remained for the semifinals competition.

This is Kalpande’s first trip to Washington, D.C., and she is excited for Friday’s tour of the nation’s capital, specifically a visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

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