As the Scripps National Spelling Bee gets underway outside of Washington, D.C., today, 13-year-old Abhinav Palle, of Clarks Summit, is Speller No. 401 in a field of 516 spellers who hail from all 50 states, several U.S. territories and a few foreign countries.
“I feel pretty prepared,” he said in a telephone interview last week. “I study every day, usually for three or more hours.”
Palle, a seventh-grade student at Abington Heights Middle School in Clarks Summit, earned the right to represent northeastern Pennsylvania in March at the Woodlands, where he won a regional bee sponsored by the Times Leader Media Group and The Medicine Shoppe pharmacy.
He and his family — dad Srikanth Palle, mom Dr. Padmaja Bojanapally, twin brother Pranav and 5-year-old sister Nanya — expected to travel to National Harbor, Md., over the weekend and meet other spellers and their families at a get-acquainted picnic on Memorial Day.
Today’s spelling action begins this morning with a written “preliminaries” test.
After the written test, spellers proceed to round two, in which they take turns spelling onstage between 9:15 a.m. and 5:20 p.m. today. Anyone interested in following their progress can watch the bee results streaming live on the ESPN app.
Spellers who spelled correctly in round two advance to round three, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday. Again, bee results will stream live on the ESPN app.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee finals will be held on Thursday, and that’s where the results of the written test count. They will be tabulated and factored into the spellers’ standings so that no more than 50 top spellers will advance to the finals. The daytime portion of the finals is expected to last from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and can be viewed on ESPN2 in addition to the ESPN app.
The prime time portion of the finals will be held Thursday evening and can be viewed on ESPN.
In preparation for the bee, Palle has been studying words that made their way into the English language from many root languages. The ones he likes best, he said, are Greek.
“Greek words follow many strict rules,” he said, explaining why he would welcome being asked to spell such words as asterisk, phenomenon or tachometer.
When he’s not studying spelling words, Palle enjoys playing soccer and taking part in Boy Scout activities.
He said he was looking forward to the bee week, not just for the excitement of the bee but because “They have many great activities, and you get to meet many spellers from around the world.”
Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT.