By AMIE PARNES
Scripps Howard News Service
June 02, 2005
Washington - Anurag Kashyap, an avid reader and straight-A student, was the last one standing on the red dais at the 78th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee Thursday, holding the large trophy after he correctly spelled the word "appoggiatura," a musical term.
Once he was declared the winner, the 13-year-old ran across the stage, hugged his father and cried.
"You deserve it buddy!" his friend, Rachel Karas yelled as Anurag, smiled through a mouth full of braces and took questions from reporters.
Anurag was asked if he has any advice for future spelling bee contestants.
"You must keep trying, keep studying, keep reading," Anurag told the crowd as his friends - contestants eliminated from the bee in earlier rounds- cried in a roped off area near the stage. "But also have fun. This competition wouldn't be anything without camaraderie or friendship."
His friends were his inspiration, he said later, and kept encouraging him as he tried to out-spell 13-year-old Aliya Robin Deri, of Pleasanton, Calif., and Samir Sudhir Patel, of Colleyville, Texas. Deri misspelled her word "trouvaille" and Patel, the favorite in the competition, ended his bee winning streak with the word, "Roscian."
There was a light moment earlier Thursday as the number of spellers dwindled and the tension mounted by the minute, with words like "sphygmomanometer" and "exanthematic."
That moment came when 14-year-old Katherine Seymour, of Huntingtown, Md., approached the microphone unsure of the word, "incunabula."
Along with the origin of the word and the definition, she asked, only half-jokingly, "And how do you spell that?" The comment drew laughter from the audience.
Students, like Meg Mathis, of Memphis, Tenn., made small mistakes. The 14-year-old spelled the word "thurible," a censer used in religious services, with an "a" instead of an "i." The audience groaned and cameras came in for close ups as Dovie Eisner, 13, of Miami, spelled the word "anatocism," -the taking of compact interest- with an "i" instead of an "o." He threw his fists down in disappointment as he left the stage.
In the 6th round, Laura Ann Brown, of Birmingham, Ala., who flawlessly spelled her words in previous rounds, was stumped with the word, "tropholytic, "meaning related to, or being the deeper part of a lake in which dissimilation of organic matter tends to predominate.
But for students who spelled their words correctly, there was excitement mixed with relief. Evan O'Dorney, of Walnut Creek, Calif., who spelled the words, "insessorial," meaning perching or adapted for perching, and "jalousie," a blind or shutter having horizontal slats- ran back to his seat with his hands in the air, high-fiving the other contestants. When the short boy with spiked hair and glasses sat down, he exhaled. "I made it!" he mouthed.
Katie Brown, of Stuart, Fla., who is making her fourth spelling bee appearance, correctly spelled the word "ipseity," meaning, individual identity or selfhood, after having trouble pronouncing the word.
"Is it ip-seity or ib-seity?" she asked the judge.
"The first," he responded.
She spelled the word and closed her eyes, praying for a miracle. And when she opened them, she heard applause.
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