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Rough Words Stump 74 in First Two Rounds of Spelling Bee

June 2, 1993

Undated (AP) _ WASHINGTON (AP) - Words such as akropodion, glomerulus and coccygeal knocked out 74 youngsters in the first two rounds of the 66th National Spelling Bee today.

There were 161 spellers left as the contest moved into its most difficult phase, when any word from the dictionary may be posed. Spellers were given a study list of more than 1,200 words for the first two rounds.

Jennifer Sri, 13, an eighth-grader from Hagerstown, Md., was the second speller to go to the microphone, and the first to fall by the wayside. She failed to correctly spell chalaza, a word that describes a substance in egg white.

An opening flurry of miscues knocked out six of the first nine spellers in the national competition. At the first intermission, 33 of 120 competitors had dropped out. ″That’s a mighty lot for words you’ve already been given,″ said Robin Hart Smith, 11, who said he studied more than an hour a night for months to prepare.

Robin of Senatobia, Miss., spelled pultaceous in the first round. ″That’s as simple as pie,″ he said during a break. He followed up with cortisone.

A total of 235 spellers vied for the championship which will be decided Thursday. The competitors ranged from nine to 15 years of age.

Forty-three of the spellers have been to the national competition before, including Taylor West, 14, of Altavista, Va. who was making her fourth appearance in the nationals. She breezed through the first two rounds by spelling imparisyllabic and pleonasm.

Each of the 131 girls and 104 boys competing on the 80-foot long stage in the downtown hotel ballroom won local spelling contests to advance to the national finals. The contestants came from 49 states as well as Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.

One contestant, the daughter of a U.S. military man, came from Germany.

Before the bee, the official pronouncer reminded the spellers that they had already proven themselves by becoming finalists out of a nationwide field of 10 million contestants. Have fun and don’t worry too much about winning, advised Alex J. Cameron, an associate professor of English at the University of Dayton.

″Who is second and who is 26th and who is 200th - it’s part of the game you’re going to play while you show off for you parents,″ he told the spellers.

The winner will get $5,000 and the runner-up $4,000.

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