A dozen finalists will vie for the title of 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion Thursday evening, but unfortunately, a San Ramon teen won't be among them.
Shirlyn Prabahar, 13, an eighth-grader at Gale Ranch Middle School in San Ramon, didn't advance to the semifinals despite spelling the words "mozzarella" and "Kodiak" correctly onstage during the competition in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
Prabahar, representing Walnut Creek and Contra Costa County and sponsored by the Contra Costa Times, missed a vocabulary question in the competition's third round, regarding correct usage of the word "venatorial."
Scores from two rounds of onstage spelling and vocabulary were added to results of a computerized test to determine the 46 semi-finalists. Spellers needed to score 28 out of a possible 36 points to advance.
This year, a total of 281 spellers from across the country competed for the championship title. The winner will receive a $30,000 cash prize and a trophy, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and a complete reference library.
The bee's final round will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 5 p.m. PST.
Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.