There will be no winners from New Jersey this year Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The only student in Garden State who reached the final of the 94th bee, Nitya Katiravan of Somerset, erred in her first word and heard a terrible bell. She stumbled upon the word helxine, a genus of plants. She wrote it with an “c” instead of an “x”.
She was not the only spellcaster who was eliminated at the beginning of the last day of bees. Five of the 13 students on stage were mistaken in their first words. Initially, 12 students made it to the finals, but one participant, who was initially disqualified, appealed the decision and spelled his new word correctly.
Eighth-grader Rutgers Preparatory School in Somerset, 13-year-old Nietzsche, last competed in a live competition for the first time in years. In 2019, she took 51st place, the last living bee before this week.
She passed seven rounds of spelling and vocabulary tests in two days to become one of 13 students who stood on stage early in prime time.
Initially, 234 authors qualified for the event, including seven from Garden.
Four New Jersey residents won the bee: Shrutik Padhi, 13, of Cherry Hill and Christopher Serrao, 12, of Whitehouse Station, in 2019; Catherine Close, 13, of Spring Lake, 2006; and Jonathan Nysley, 12, of Malik Hill, in 1971.
The bee was canceled in 2020 due to coronavirus pandemic and was held mostly almost last year.
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Jonathan D. Salant can be obtained at email@example.com. Follow him on @JDSalant.