Abhijay Kodali, an 11-year-old from Flower Mound, Texas, came in third in the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition, which was held in Oxon Hill, Maryland. He misspelled the word “aalii.”
Abhijay was the youngest of the final 16 finalists. He started competing only in March and joined the bee when he won a regional competition in Texas.
“I’ve been to every bee along the way,” said Kim Martich, his teacher at Liberty Elementary School told Dallas News. “He has a passion for it.”
The competition started Sunday with 515 spellers, the largest number of contestants in the 93 years of the national bee’s history. Last year, there were only 291
Abhijay's older sister, Ananya Kodali, was one of those blue-chip Dallas spellers who never made it to nationals - she lost twice at regionals to a speller who ended up finishing fifth on the Scripps stage.