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Friday, May 30, 2008

Times-sponsored speller knocked out of national spelling bee

Until one second from now, you probably couldn't spell "deuterocanonical" either.

That word - a seven syllable Latin-rooted doozie referring to Biblical books not contained in the Hebrew canon - stumped local spelling champion Keertan R. Kini, 14, on Thursday, ending his run as the Times-sponsored speller in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

Kini, of Schererville, beat many of the hundreds of spellers in the contest to enter the quarterfinals before he misspelled the word on stage. Kini, a Kahler Middle School eighth-grader, was characteristically professional about his loss Thursday. He said he was happy to advance further this year than he did in last year's national bee. But he said he will be haunted by "what-ifs."

"It's a let down. It's a little bit of a relief," he said.

"Most of all it's just something that I have to deal with."

Kini and his father planned to stay for the rest of contest, Kini said. He hoped Thursday for a victory from one of the other Indiana spellers. He said they seem like "pretty nice people."

Kini said he made some friends in two years at the bee. He might like to work for the bee later, as some bee alumni do. He learned from the bee, he said.

"It taught me a lot about how much motivation can play a role in how well you do," he said.

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