Melina Gabele, speller 198, is getting words on a trend.

She was excited to spell "schnell" correctly in the last round -- she missed the semifinals in her first appearance. This round, she correctly spelled "schiller" and is still in the competition.

Champions' brothers

Jairam Hathwar, speller 153, misspelled "riegel" to get out. He's the brother of Sriram Hathwar, who was co-champion last year.

"Well, I was very excited and happy that I even made it to the semifinals" Jairam said after he was eliminated. "I'll study harder and hopefully next time, I'll do better."

Sriram said he's happy that his brother made it.

"So very proud of him, I know he did his best," he said.


Before the bee, speller 15, Jenna-May Ingal and speller 16, Snehaa Ganesh Kumar, were talking on stage.

"When you walk up to the mic, it feels like everyone's eyes are on you," Jenna-May said.

Snehaa agreed.

"I feel, like, really nervous," she said. "I've done the best I can. ...You have to get lucky, get a word you know."

Snehaa spelled "gibus" correctly to stay in. Jenna-May misspelled "periegesis" and is out.


This is the second bee for Arushi Kalpande, speller 144, but her first semifinals.

"I tried to relax," she said.

She coorectly spelled "holoku," then misspelled "dicoccous" to be eliminated.

Another finalist set

"Last year, I was as close as anyone can be to winning," said Gokul Venkatachalam, speller 140, who finished third in last year's bee.

"I'm looking forward to trying to win. I'm not saying I will win, but I want to. Winning will be my ultimate redemption."

This is Gokul's fourth bee. He spelled "bordereau" correctly, and will be a finalist.

Golden ticket

Dylan O'Connor, speller 164, said he was feeling good before he took the stage. It's his fourth time at the bee, but only his second semifinals.

"I'm excited again," he said.

Dylan's mother, Alycia, was thrilled.

"It's like Charlie winning the golden ticket," she said.

Dylan misspelled "arcology" and was eliminated.

Deep breaths

Rohan Sachdev, speller 173, said he planned to take lots of deep breaths to prepare for the semifinals.

Rohan, a sixth grader, is in his first bee week. He’s been competing since second grade, and lost four times in a row before getting here.