Charlotte-area middle schooler reaches semifinals at Scripps National Spelling Bee

·1 min read

A 14-year-old from the Charlotte area has advanced to the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee following his success in the competition Tuesday afternoon.

Sreethan Gajula of Waxhaw successfully maneuvered his way through six rounds of the quarterfinals that included two multiple-choice vocabulary questions.

Sreethan Gajula, an eighth-grader at Marvin Ridge Middle School in Waxhaw, on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, advanced to the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Sreethan Gajula, an eighth-grader at Marvin Ridge Middle School in Waxhaw, on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, advanced to the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Sreethan’s final word that propelled him to the semifinals? “Hornito,” a low oven-shaped mound in volcanic regions that emits smoke and vapors, according to Merriam-Webster.

Now the eighth-grader from Marvin Ridge Middle in Union County will join 29 other spellers in the semifinals on June 27. There, the competition will be whittled down until the top 10-12 spellers remain.

Like Tuesday’s quarterfinals, the semifinals will be virtual. The June 27 competition will air on ESPN2 and ESPNU beginning at 7 p.m.

Unlike the quarterfinals, however, Sreethan will be the only North Carolina competitor.

Rishidharan Jayakumar, a 12-year-old from Brawley School in Mooresville, and James Dover, a 14-year-old from Belmont Middle School in Gaston County, were both eliminated Tuesday in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively.

The in-person finals are scheduled for July 8 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida — not the traditional venue in Washington.

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