Updated at 11:40 a.m. May 31, 2012
Rancho Penasquitos resident Snigdha Nandipati spelled all three of her semifinal round words correctly to advance to Thursday night’s Scripps National Spelling Bee finals.
“She is one of only nine spellers remaining out of the 278 that began the contest on Tuesday,” said David Wahlstrom, a spokesman for her school, Francis Parker.
The final rounds will be shown live on ESPN beginning at 5 p.m. San Diego time. The finals will also be streamed live on ESPN3 through the link www.espn.com/watchespn/spellingbee. Snigdha will be the first speller to compete in the finals Thursday evening.
She advanced by spelling stochastically in round four, becoming the last student from California in the competition, before spelling compas in round five.
Snigdha would then spell rhonchus in the sixth round to advance to the finals.
Snigdha Nandipati of Rancho Peñasquitos correctly spelled words in the second and third rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, MD, Wednesday and advanced to the semifinals for the second year in a row.
The Francis Parker School eighth-grader spelled ringent, meaning having the mouth wide open, in the second round, then spelled lahar, a volcanic mudflow, in the third round.
The first round—a 50-word computer spelling test, with 25 words counting toward their scores—was held Tuesday, with each correct answer worth one point. The test scores were combined with the second- and third-round results to determine the 50 semifinalists from the original field of 278 competitors.
Snigdha is the daughter of Krishnarao Nandipati, a software consultant for Qualcomm, and mom Madhavi Nandipati.
She tied for 27th in last year’s bee, advancing to the fifth round, the only Californian to reach the semifinals. She was eliminated when she misspelled kerystic, which refers to a sermon.
The semifinal and championship rounds will be held Thursday, with a contestant eliminated after he or she misspells a word.
Snigdha is a member of her school's Science Olympiad team, participates in several math-related events, is a member of the school Yearbook Club, plays violin and is fluent in Telugu, which is spoken in parts of India.
“She’s a terrific student,” Francis Parker Middle School Principal Patricia McKenna told City News Service. “She’s the sweetest, nicest girl.”
Snigdha went to McKenna when she was in sixth grade and asked if the school could take part in the spelling bee competition, something it had not done in “a number of years,” McKenna said.
“I put it to the English Department and said `Hey, what do you think?’” McKenna said. “She had the materials, we looked at the website and the English teachers said it was a great idea. They did the organization for the schoolwide spelling bee, but it was all at Snigdha’s motivation. She was really determined to see if she could get it organized here.”
Francis Parker School says it will hold a viewing party for students, parents, faculty, staff and media inside Crivello Hall on the Linda Vista Campus from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Thursday.
Snigdha—the San Diego County spelling —will be one of the first spellers to compete in the fourth round.
Students who complete the semifinal rounds will then compete in the championship round that begins at 5 p.m. Thursday PST. The title round will also be aired live on ESPN.
City News Service contributed to this report.