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NH spellers perfect in early rounds, but don't make final cut at national bee

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 30. 2018 9:36PM

Amanda Medina, left, and Claire Gemma

New Hampshire middle schoolers Amanda Medina of Lee and Claire Gemma of Keene were perfect spellers during two rounds on stage, but neither made the final cut Wednesday for the championship rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Medina, 13, an eighth-grader from Portsmouth Christian Academy, correctly spelled “lichenophagous” and “filiation” in the oral competition Tuesday and Wednesday at National Harbor in suburban Washington, D.C.

Gemma, 12, a seventh-grader at Keene Middle School, correctly spelled “entrechat” and “formality.”

Medina and Gemma were among 321 out of 514 spellers who remained eligible for the finals after three rounds of competition. But neither speller was among the 41 finalists selected for the final rounds Thursday based on a combination of their performance in the oral rounds and on a 24-word written spelling and vocabulary test. The maximum score on the written test was 36 points.

To advance, spellers needed at least 28 points.

Medina, who plays the violin with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, won the 65th annual New Hampshire Union Leader Spelling Bee back in February, prevailing over 12-year-old Adithya Puninchittaya of Bedford in the 25th round.

The first part of the finals will be broadcast live on ESPN 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday. The final rounds will be broadcast live on ESPN from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

The winner receives $42,500 in cash and other prizes, including a trip to New York City to appear on “Live with Kelly and Ryan” and a trip to Hollywood to appear on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” The winner also will receive a free pizza party for his or her school.

Education Keene Lee

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