Metro Atlanta spellers stung at Scripps National Spelling Bee

Fayetteville, Dunwoody students eliminated on tough words
Sarv Dharavane, 10, of Dunwoody, Georgia waits for his turn to spell during the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Sarv is one of two metro Atlanta students in this year's competition. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Sarv Dharavane, 10, of Dunwoody, Georgia waits for his turn to spell during the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Sarv is one of two metro Atlanta students in this year's competition. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Spelling is hard.

Georgia’s two contestants in the Scripps National Spelling Bee already knew that — but consider it a lesson reinforced on Wednesday, a day short of the linguistic gantlet’s final round.

Matthew Baber, a 14-year-old from Fayetteville’s Rising Starr Middle, knew how to spell “trouvaille” (definition: a lucky find) and “alcalde” (the leader of a Spanish-speaking town).

It was “bicitaxi” — a bicycle taxi, like a rickshaw involving a bike — that got him. He threw a “y” in there. Understandable but incorrect.

“Actually, I didn’t really mind getting out,” Baber told The Associated Press. “Win or lose, to be here, it’s a pretty big accomplishment.”

Indeed! And tied for 60th place ain’t too shabby.

Sarv Dharavane, the 10-year-old from Dunwoody’s Austin Elementary, also represented Georgia. And lasted longer, too.

He aced rather odd offerings like “motherumbung” (a type of Australian shrub) and “mormorando” (a descriptor for murmuring-type music). In other rounds, he defined slightly less obscure words.

Round 6 brought “stalace.” That’s a type of cell formation in a plant. And a stumper.

He went with “stallice.” He finished tied for 23rd place.

A valiant effort. And he’s got a few more years to try and reach the mountaintop.

Thursday’s finals start at 8 p.m. You can watch on a channel called ION.

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