2 Houston Area Teens Return to National Spelling Bee

Lisa Valadez | 5/29/2014, 9:53 a.m.
Houston area teens return for the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee
Syamantak Payra, 12 at the time, appears at the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee. He returns to Washington for the 2014 competition. Scripps National Spelling Bee

WASHINGTON -- Forty-six of the nation's best young spellers have taken the stage for the nerve-jangling semifinal rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

No more than 12 will advance to the finals Thursday evening. They'll have to spell two words correctly in front of a national television audience and then hope their score on a computerized spelling and vocabulary test is high enough to make the cut.

The semifinalists include last year's third-place finisher, 14-year-old Sriram Hathwar of Corning, New York, and two other finalists from 2013: 12-year-old Vanya Shivashankar of Olathe, Kansas, and 13-year-old Syamantak Payra of Friendswood, Texas. Syamantak and 13-year-old Mary Horton of West Melbourne, Florida, tied for highest score on the computer test.

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